The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:
Thirty years in prison can teach you patience. That’s a good thing for Ronald Pierce, who was paroled last year, as he’s likely in for a long fight.
Pierce, a 59-year-old North Jersey man, accepts that he’s on parole and will be for the rest of his life. But one thing he can’t accept: He’s also being denied the right to vote.
That’s because while the right is guaranteed to people on probation or parole in Pennsylvania and 15 other states, anyone under supervision for a felony conviction is barred from the ballot box in New Jersey.
He’s part of a coalition of activists, legislators, faith leaders, judges, and even former prison officials advocating for New Jersey lawmakers to pass bills introduced last month to restore voting rights to all citizens…
Pierce, who spoke at a forum in Cherry Hill to rally support for the legislation, said it’s not only unfair, it’s also bad public-safety policy.
“For people who are incarcerated, voting has a potential to be an effective means of rehabilitation,” he said. “I’ve seen this. When a person engages in civic dialogue, it opens them up to seeing beyond their personal needs to the issues that affect the community.”