Jailbirds Steal the Right to Vote
by: Kyra Nolen
American citizens older than 18 have the right, supplied by the Constitution, to participate in democracy by voting. Those incarcerated are denied this right. Avni Patel, a member of the Lake Park delegation, has set out to change this.
Patel has designed a bill that grants all incarcerated U.S. Citizens above the age of 18 suffrage. Patel has proposed this legislation because she believes, “every citizen in the United States has the right to participate in democracy.” Patel is passionate about this issue because she believes the current system is racially biased. Patel shared that as a minority she feels, “everyone deserves an equal shot,” but minorities are the one most affected by this disenfranchisement. Voting for the people that uphold your beliefs is right that should not be taken away based on your societal surroundings.
All radical ideas are expected to have opposition, and this is no different. Patel and her team are preparing for backlash from people who believe her bill will pose a threat to Illinois’s safety. Patel wants those opposed to know that the ability to vote while in prison could create a whole new dynamic for the way people campaign, and even the types of people who run for office.
The purpose of this bill is to create equal opportunity for every United States citizen no matter where they are or what they have done. Patel is motivated by a desire for racial equality and wants to move one step closer to correcting institutionalized racism.