By Taxpayer Association of Oregon
Allowing murderers to vote from prison
Senate Bill 571 paves the way for 12,000 inmates to vote from prison and is up for a hearing on Wednesday. The Bill states, “Allows persons convicted of felony to register to vote, update voter registration and vote in elections while incarcerated. Specifies that person’s residence is where person resided prior to incarceration.”
Following the footsteps of just two other states in the nation, the Oregon legislature could vote soon to grant full voting rights to prisoners. If passed, incarcerated individuals would be allowed to register to vote, update political affiliations, and cast a ballot in local, state and national elections from prison.
Under the proposed legislation, incarcerated individuals would register to vote at their most recent address prior to incarceration. This is particularly problematic for sex offenders and those who have committed the most heinous crimes in their communities.
Senate Bill 571 would allow those who are serving time for criminal convictions to vote for local judges who decide criminal cases.
If passed, Senate Bill 571 may send Oregon prisons scrambling to comply with election-based deadlines for voter registration and the return of ballots. Additional staff and new processes may be needed to ensure compliance with these deadlines.
Amidst an influx of political mailers, a lost ballot or misplaced voter registration card could be nightmare in terms of press and endless potential litigation.