“Let the punishment fit the crime.” How many times have we heard that in our lives? Most Americans agree with that principle but apparently some do not in practice.
The right wing makes a big show of caring about election integrity. That has proven to be a bunch of malarkey and just an excuse to intimidate voters while attempting to rig the outcomes of elections. If you really care about integrity, you also care about inequity.
Despite right wing mythology to the contrary, voter fraud didn’t even come remotely close to influencing the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. On the last show before her hiatus, Rachel Maddow outlined four cases, all of which I was aware of from the past, of people casting votes for their dead wife or mother in the 2020 election. While the ballot is secret only a fool would believe that those ballots were cast for Joe Biden. Three received no jail time and the fourth only three days in the local jail. Mind you, these were votes that were actually cast.
Now let’s look at the case of Pamela Moses. She attempted to register to vote in Shelby County, Tennessee. Ms. Moses has a criminal record that includes a felony conviction. (In fact, her criminal record is extensive.) In preparation for her attempt to register to vote she obtained documentation from the corrections department stating she was eligible to reregister. The local Board of Elections also deemed her eligible. Upon further review she was deemed ineligible. The Shelby County District Attorney decided to arrest her and bring her to trial. Last week Monday she was found guilty of attempting to illegally register to vote and sentenced to six years and one day in prison.
The four Trump fraudulent voters were all white males; Moses is a Black female. Do you think that might have anything to do with the outcome to date (Moses’ conviction and sentencing is under appeal)? I certainly do!
As to equity in sentencing, keep in mind that in the cases of the four white men votes were actually cast; in Moses’ case no vote was actually cast. The mere attempt to become registered to vote in a future election after being advised by two authority figures that she was eligible to do so supposedly warranted a substantial prison sentence. Voting laws change and the fine points can be confusing. I think it is rather straight forward to know whether your wife or mother is alive.
I like similes and I think this situation perfectly lends itself to one. This is like giving an arsonist the equivalent of less than one day in jail for successfully setting the building on fire while sentencing a person who bought matches at the store across the street six years and a day. Laws and sentencing will vary from one locality to another. Prosecutors have wide discretion (in this case way too wide when coupled with racially clouded judgement) but this transcends any of that. This is a clear case of racial, and to a much smaller degree, gender based inequity!
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