Sen. Bonham: Felon voting bill bypasses Constitution

By Oregon State Senator Daniel Bonham,

What is the most patriotic thing people can do? Vote. Voting is a right and a privilege. SB 579 would give adults in custody the right to vote, giving the OK for people who have harmed their fellow citizens an equal voice to decide rules and laws, while they have abdicated their own civic responsibilities by breaking them. Watch my floor speech on this bill here.

With SB 579, in many cases we are talking about voting for criminals who have committed murder. These are people who have taken the lives of others, permanently removing the voting rights of their fellow Oregonians.

My colleague, Sen. Suzanne Weber (Tillamook), listed some of the awful offenses committed by adults in custody who will get to vote if SB 579 passes.

For example, in 1997, meth user Jesse Compton brutally murdered 3-year-old Tesslynn Elizabeth O’Cull. In 1999, Tesslynn’s mother Stella was convicted for child abuse. With SB 579, Jesse and Stella get to vote, but Tesslynn will never get the chance.

Randy Lee Guzek was convicted of killing Terrebonne couple Rod and Louise Houser during a late night burglarly. He shot Louise 3 times, a fourth and final time in a closet, and he shot Rod 20 times. With SB 579, Guzek, who has been sentenced to death 4 times, gets to vote, but Rod and Louise Houser do not.

Where is the justice for victims?

I find it offensive that rapists and murderers will be able to vote on who their judge, the DA, and the sheriff can be. Do we want pedophiles determining who can serve on a school board?

To pass this bill, the legislature will disregard the Oregon Constitution as well. The Oregon Constitution, Article 2, Section 3 says, “A person who has been lawfully convicted of a felony has forfeited their right to vote.”