By Hans Bader
Liberal judges insist that it’s racist to keep prison inmates from voting, because inmates are disproportionately members of minority groups. See the dissents of liberal judges Calebresi, Sotomayor, and Katzmann in this appeals court ruling upholding New York’s law prohibiting prison inmates from voting (Hayden v. Pataki).
But some liberals are not very enthusiastic about soldiers voting. As noted earlier, Illinois officials missed the deadline to mail ballots to U.S. troops overseas, but they hand-delivered ballots to inmates in liberal Cook County, Illinois, and the Obama administration is failing to enforce federal laws that require states to mail ballots to overseas troops in a timely fashion.
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Sadly, to a few liberal commenters, the soldiers who protect America are just “right-wing neanderthals” who lack the “intellectual” capacity to “vote intelligently” and fail to appreciate the need for “social change.”
The irony is that soldiers are a bit more likely to be black than the general population (see this graph for the percentages of army recruits by state), so failing to protect the votes of soldiers also has a “racially disparate impact.” If liberals really care about such “discrimination” — as they claim in arguing that prison inmates should be allowed to vote — why aren’t they defending the voting rights of soldiers, rather than turning a blind eye to violations of their voting rights?
Presumably, the answer is that soldiers aren’t liberal enough for them — the way inmates are perceived as being.