Conversation on the restoration of felons voting rights
The Iowa Standard talked with Neil Volz and Arthur Rizer about restoration of felons’ voting rights.
Rizer heads R Street’s programs dealing with issues related to crime, policing, intelligence and privacy.
Volz serves as Deputy Director of Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. He has more than 25 years of experience working as a public servant and community advocate, including work as chief of staff for a member of Congress and staff director for a full congressional committee.
Rizer, who served as a police officer and a prosecutor, talked about the Republican Party dying as a species.
“We’re not going to exist anymore if we can get ahead of some of these issues,” he said. “Things related to voting so often align with issues related to race, we cannot ignore this anymore. We have to get ahead of this.”
Disenfranchising voters, he said, does not help people rehabilitate.
Rizer said it is important to think about where the stopping point for punishment is.
“At a certain point, it’s over,” he said. “If we’re going to perpetuate this idea that you’re going to be continually dunked underwater as part of this idea of punishment, one that is not very American and two, that doesn’t actually play into the idea of rehabilitation.
“You cannot have this idea of second chances if nobody is allowed to actually have that second chance.”
Even victim’s rights groups believe there needs to be a lane for people to return to voting, Rizer said.