By The Staff
On the same day that New Jersey Democrat legislators killed a legislative amendment to stiffen voter fraud penalties, lawmakers began a new push to afford voting rights to approximately 100,000 New Jerseyans who are either imprisoned or serving terms of either parole or probation.
New Jersey would become only the third U.S. state (Maine and Vermont are the other two) to allowing voting during an active prison sentence.
“Incarcerated criminals – pedophiles, home-invaders, rapists, thieves — are in prison precisely because they have broken the laws of society and shown contempt for our citizen,” said Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-26). “In response, society should deprive convicted and incarcerated law-breakers from deciding who writes the very laws they broke. Prisoners have not yet repaid their debts to society and have not passed through parole or probation to show that they can live peaceably and respect our laws. Until they do, they should not have a vote.
Under the current law, New Jersey residents can vote with criminal records but only after completing both the prison sentence and any restitution or court fees requirements.
Under the new Democrat proposal? An inmate — including those convicted of violent and/or sexual crimes — could vote absentee in his or her home voting district.
“Permitting criminals to vote while incarcerated also is patently unfair to law-abiding citizens. Diluting the votes of those who obey the law by giving the vote to those who broke the law just doesn’t make sense,” added Webber. “New Jersey’s 100,000 prisoners and parolees simply should not be determining the public policy of our state. Our law has prohibited incarcerated prisoners from voting for more than 170 years, and that is how it should remain.”
Governor Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) supported enfranchising parolees and those on probation during his campaign but did not endorse allowing felons serving prison sentences to vote prior to release.