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CVD Commentary in
New York Times

September 20, 2001

A Civic Act

To the Editor:

Before Sept. 11 became a national tragedy, it was Election Day in New York City. Not a few of those who lost their lives at the World Trade Center had voted before going to work perhaps their last civic act.

Their votes were nullified when the election was canceled and rescheduled for Sept. 25. That primary may well determine how representative and effective city government will be as New York recovers and rebuilds.

What better way for New Yorkers to honor the dead and to show the world the resiliency of our democracy than to go to the polls in huge numbers and help shape the city's future?

John B. Anderson
Center for Voting and Democracy
Takoma Park, Md.
September 17, 2001

August 13, 2001

Let Ex-Felons Vote

To the Editor:

Re "A Halfhearted Push for Reform" (editorial, Aug. 6):

The electoral reform commission certainly could have been bolder about reform proposals like setting federal standards for redistricting and ensuring candidates win major elections with an absolute majority of the vote. But you do not credit the commission's bravest recommendation: restoration of voting rights to citizens who have served time in jail for felony convictions. Remarkably, 10 states still ban such otherwise eligible citizens from voting for life.

In Florida, that lifetime ban means that more than 600,000 adults cannot vote, including nearly a third of African-American men. Yet studies show that one of the best indicators of future voter participation is whether one's parents voted. By making ex- felons permanent outcasts from our elections, we are sending a chilling message not only to them, but also to their children.

Rob Richie
Executive Director
Center for Voting and Democracy
August 13, 2001

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