Democrats Divided as House Rejects Amendment Allowing Felons to Vote While in Prison
Do you support or oppose allowing felons to vote while they’re serving a sentence in prison?
by Causes | 3.2.21
What’s the story?
- The House on Tuesday offered a bipartisan rejection of an amendment that would’ve allowed felons ― including those who are incarcerated and serving their sentences ― to vote in federal elections, although the vote split the Democratic caucus nearly in half and resulted in several party leaders ending up on opposing sides of the roll call.
- The amendment was offered by Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), a first-term congresswoman who is among the growing ranks of democratic socialist lawmakers, during debate on Democrats’ expansive election reform package known as the For the People Act (H.R. 1). Bush tweeted the following in response to the vote:
“For the first time ever, the House took a vote on whether or not to end the cruelty of denying incarcerated people their right to vote. Our amendment didn’t pass, but 97 Democrats voted with us. We will not stop fighting until we dismantle white supremacy in all of its forms.”
- The amendment failed on a vote of 97-328 with bipartisan opposition, but nearly won a majority of the House Democratic caucus, as it was opposed by 119 Democrats (or 55% of the Democrats who voted).
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) did not vote, as is the custom for speakers on most votes that aren’t historically notable or expected to have a very thin majority, but there were members of her leadership team who voted in opposition to each other.
- Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) each voted in favor of the amendment, while Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Pete Aguilar (D-CA) were opposed.
- The divisions extended to committee chairs as well: Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) voted in favor of allowing incarcerated felons to vote, while Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) voted against the amendment.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / SPmemory)
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