WHEREAS, the NAACP is the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the world, standing on the principles of equal justice, freedom and the rights of all to exercise the right to vote, and
WHEREAS, the Lakeland Correctional Facility NAACP Branch joins many other freedom fighters to call for an aggressive plan of action for the restoration of voting rights for persons who have lost their right to vote because of a felony conviction and for incarceration; and
WHEREAS, all governmental agencies have the duty and responsibility to uphold the Constitution of the United States; and
WHEREAS, African Americans and other people of color are disproportionately impacted by the disenfranchisement of voting rights which impacts many who have been incarcerated, and
WHEREAS, the 14th Amendment of the U. S. Constitution prescribes that "…the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude; and the 15th Amendment cites: "The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation;' and
WHEREAS, the NAACP review the policies adopted by the Canadian Government in its Supreme Court, which grants Canadian prisoners the right to vote, citing: "The idea that certain classes of people are not morally fit or morally worthy to vote and to participate in the lawmaking process is ancient and obsolete. The legitimacy of the law and the obligation to obey the law flows directly from the right of every citizen to vote. As to a legitimate penal purpose, neither the record nor common sense support the claim that disenfranchisement deters crime or rehabilitates criminals…"Chief Justice Beverly McLauchlin, who wrote the opinion, also remarked that removing the right to vote in hopes of enhancing respect for the law is 'exactly backwards." (As reported in the Winter/December 2002 edition of Out of Bounds).
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP strengthen its efforts to organize and encourage its units to advocate for the restoration of the voting rights of persons whose rights have been denied because of incarceration and reaffirm its vigorous support of felony re-enfranchisement legislation.