Thursday, September 23, 2004

The NYTimes > Campaign '04 > Laws on Felons Forbid Many Black Men to Vote

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > 2 Studies Find Laws on Felons Forbid Many Black Men to Vote:
"The studies, the first to look at felon disenfranchisement laws' effect on voting in individual cities, add to a growing body of evidence that those laws have a disproportionate effect on African-Americans because the percentage of black men with felony convictions is much larger than their share of the general population.

The study in Atlanta concluded that two-thirds of the gap in voter registration between black males and other ethnic and gender groups was attributable to Georgia's felon disenfranchisement law.

'We have the conventional wisdom that African-American males register to vote at lower rates because of political apathy,' said the study's author, Ryan King of the Sentencing Project, a research and prisoners' rights group based in Washington. But the new data clearly indicate that 'their registration is artificially suppressed by the disproportionate effect of their disenfranchisement.'

The Atlanta study also found that about a third of black men who had lost the right to vote because of a felony had been convicted of drug crimes.

'This is important,' Mr. King said, 'because drug arrests are inherently discretionary.' Other research has shown that blacks do not use drugs more than whites but are arrested on drug charges, and convicted, at a much higher rate."
con·cept: The NYTimes > Campaign '04 > Laws on Felons Forbid Many Black Men to Vote