The Corner

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The Criminal Vote


The Washington Times reports today that Virginia Governor Mark Warner, a Democrat whose term ends tomorrow, is under pressure from various left-wing groups to “grant blanket restorations [of voting rights] to more than 240,000 felons.” Warner has already set a record in giving 3414 felons that right, but the Times reports that he will not make this last-minute restoration.

It would be a travesty if he did. As I’ve written before, it makes no sense to allow those who aren’t willing to follow the law to make the law for the rest of us. We have certain minimum standards of loyalty and trustworthiness for voting–that’s why children, noncitizens, and the mentally incompetent can’t vote either–and those who have committed serious crimes against their fellow citizens don’t meet them. Governors should restore the right carefully, on a case-by-case basis, looking at what crime or crimes were committed, and how many and how recently, and whether the felon has really turned over a new leaf (recidivism rates are over 60 percent today). An across-the-board restoration would be outrageous.