As we noted earlier this week, one of the most contentious issues that came up during Senate Rules' markup of the Corrupt Politicians Act was felon voting rights. As multiple Republicans pointed out, reasonable minds can differ on the issue, but the Democrats have taken it too far. Their position is so problematic that it's worth a second look.
It all started when Senator Hyde-Smith proposed an amendment to the legislation that would give states the option to withhold voting rights from felons convicted of crimes against children:
“All crime is bad, but crimes against children are the absolute worst,” Hyde-Smith said. “Felons convicted of crimes against children should face serious consequences for what they do. One of those consequences that states should be able to impose is for them to lose the right to vote.”
This Hyde-Smith amendment would specifically exempt states from being forced to permit persons who have been convicted of felony crimes against children to vote. The underlying bill would have required all states to give the right to vote in federal elections to felons who have been released from prison.
During debate over the amendment, Senator Klobuchar insisted that states should not be afforded that option because some states already allowed felons convicted of crimes against children to vote. So Senator Klobuchar is only for Federalism and states' rights when it comes to felons voting? When Senator Cruz challenged Klobucher, she doubled down on her argument.
Every single Rules Committee Democrat joined Senator Klobuchar and voted "no" the amendment. The amendment narrowly passed because Senator King (an Independent who usually votes with Democrats) decided to side with the Republicans on what should have been a no-brainer change to the bill.
.@SenAngusKing has broken with the Democrats to vote for @SenHydeSmith’s amendment to the #CorruptPoliticiansAct giving states the option to withhold voting rights from felons convicted of crimes against children. The Senator cited being a parent as his reason.— RNLA ⚖️ (@TheRepLawyer) May 11, 2021
After Hyde-Smith's amendment, another amendment was proposed by Senator Cruz to give states the option to withhold voting rights from felons convicted of murder. Surely the Committee could get this amendment passed too... Wrong. This time, Senator King sided with the Democrats, and the amendment failed.
To recap, every single Democrat member of the Senate Rules Committee voted against simply giving the states the option to withhold voting rights from felons convicted of crimes against children and murder.
The Democrats have definitely dug themselves into a hole on this one. They argue that it must be impossible for people convicted of these egregious offenses to be released from incarceration, but the facts show otherwise. Democrats are so far gone on wanting to take all power away from the states that they are willing to dig their heels in in opposition to Republicans on even the most obvious issues.