The proposed felon voting rights restoration amendment would automatically restore voting rights to convicted felons upon completion of their sentences. The only exceptions would be for people convicted of murder and sexual felonies. All other felons, according to the amendment’s proponents, deserve a “second chance.” Of course, there’s a long list of horrible, violent crimes short of murder that would be covered by the proposed amendment.
Let’s meet William Hendrickson III. Hendrickson, age 25, allegedly allowed his 8 month old son to literally bake to death in a bedroom that investigators say had no ventilation and reached 109 degrees. Hendrickson’s 2 year old daughter was left hospitalized with severe dehydration. Just one day earlier, a caseworker from Child Protective Services had warned Hendrickson to keep the bedroom door open because the room got too hot for the baby and child. Hendrickson has been arrested on charges of aggravated manslaughter for the death of the infant and aggravated child neglect for the injuries to his daughter. The Tampa Bay Times has coverage here, here and here.
So yeah . . . who wants to argue that this guy deserves a “second chance”? I thought not. And that’s exactly what’s wrong with the proposed constitutional amendment – it would treat Hendrickson’s crimes no differently that a felony conviction for writing a bad check. That’s just bad public policy.