VANGUARD INCARCERATED PRESS: ACA 4 – Prisoners’ Right to Vote

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By James Kor

NOTE: On July 5,2023 the following was recorded as a two-minute statement to be presented to the California Legislature, re: ACA 4.

My name is James Kor and I’m incarcerated at California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility in Corcoran. I support Assembly Constitutional Amendment 4 which will give prisoners the right to vote. A good way to get incarcerated citizens to think differently from how they did in their criminal pasts is to get them engaged in thinking about positive, interesting things that are new to them. Getting them engaged in the actual democratic process, through voting, will not only do that; it will also be the act of placing responsibility on them to become informed about issues and candidates so that their votes matter.

Statistics and common sense should lead to the conclusion that very few prisoners were voting during their past lifestyles, so the taking of that previously unexercised “right” of theirs is no logical punishment in the first place. Furthermore, what legitimate, meaningful purpose has been or will continue to be served by maintaining such an outdated policy? Moreover, the centuries long disenfranchisement of disproportionate numbers of people of color from the election process also factors into this issue. ACA 4 can be the State of California stepping forward with some remedy for this.

Finally, by looking back through history we can gain an edge toward looking into the future. That said, I’d like these few words of mine to matter and be shared, so let us look back to the elections of 2000. Without even a majority, but a microscopically thin margin of votes, George Bush went to the White House. Had prisoners the right to vote, nationwide, it is most likely that Al Gore would have become President. Then there would not have been:

a) falsified reports of WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION (WMDs) possessed by Saddam Hussein;

b)nor the Iraq War costing approximately 5000 U.S. soldiers their lives and causing tens of thousands more to be injured;

c)nor the triggering of civil war in Iraq or the political vacuum it created for the emergence of the terrorist group ISIS;

d)nor trillions of dollars foolishly squandered from our Treasury;

e) John Roberts and Samuel Alito would not be on our Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade would still be intact;

f) and it seems very unlikely that any pathway into the White House would have been created for Donald Trump.

For these things alone, prisoners having the right to vote would have been a very good thing. Now, California can look forward, envision more good through ACA 4, and set an example for other states to follow in the process.

THANK YOU ALL FOR GIVING MY VOICE THE CHANCE TO MATTER

*******

I add these comments for the Vanguard’s readers:

Yes, it was both a biased Supreme Court and outmoded Electoral College that made the votes of the majority of Americans not matter in the 2000 election. Racist factions in our government have been exploiting both to steal elections. Also overtly on display has been the campaign to dilute the power of votes from people of color. Yes, these racist factions were all for the idea of “manifest destiny” when it meant that “destiny” legitimized the stealing of land from Native Americans and Mexico (the U.S. was deemed destined to have those lands? WTF?).

But those same factions are not so keen on the reality that America is destined to have a population consisting of a majority of citizens who are not white and/or identify as being multi-racial. All of a sudden, that “manifest destiny” (that which is obviously inevitable) is no longer a good thing to the WHITE POWERS-that be. These are the ones who’ve had no qualms about starting wars, stealing territories, lying, cheating, even staging or supporting wrongful insurrection, (i.e. Jan. 6,2021). Their agenda is and has been to maintain and in-crease political power—by any means necessary—and regardless of what the majority of American citizens want. I ask the question: What does a society ignoring and, thus, tolerating such, deserve? What say we let the daily headlines sledgehammer that point home.

Personally? I believe that much more bold and decisive steps should be taken to remove the fangs from the trash in our government I’ve been referring to; the right and actual “duty” for such is enshrined in our DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. But ACA 4 is at least a start and it will be more than little baby steps towards “a more perfect union.”

So—please do support it.

HAPPY BASTILLE DAY!

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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