Baton Rouge Community Radio’s A Pause for Thought recently covered felon disenfranchisement in Louisiana. You can listen to the episode here:
The program features an interview with Norris Henderson, executive director of VOTE (Voice Of The Experienced), a non-profit by, of, and for formerly incarcerated individuals and their families. VOTE is the lead plaintiff in VOTE v. Louisiana, currently in the First Circuit Court of Appeals, charging that the state unconstitutionally disenfranchises citizens on parole or probation. At issue is Section 10(A) of the Louisiana 1974 Constitution’s Declaration of Rights, which grants the right to vote with the exception of persons ‘under an order of imprisonment for conviction of a felony.’
Speaking to show host Wayne Parker, Mr. Henderson explained “If you ask the regular citizen what their understanding of ‘under an order of imprisonment’ means, they would literally say that you’re talking about somebody that’s in jail. And so for the legislature, [the Constitution] was passed by an election of over 600,000 people in 1973 and within less than two years 144 [legislators] decide to change it. So that’s been our challenge.” He also spoke about the extension of disenfranchisement to those under probation, saying “The thing about the person on probation, the person on probation never really went to jail; they got arrested, went to court and got sent to probation and went home. And so that’s not talking about a person that’s under orders of incarceration.”
Norris Henderson was falsely imprisoned in Louisiana for a crime he did not commit for 27 years, 10 months, and 18 days. He has since been cleared of the crime he was unjustly jailed for almost three decades.
VOTE and The Advancement Project are leading the litigation in Louisiana state court, which includes VOTE and eight individual plaintiffs. Their suit claims the voters approving the 1974 Louisiana Constitution did not intend disenfranchisement to extend to parolees and those on probation, rather the legislature changed the language of the law unconstitutionally two years later.
Fans of 96.9FM’s Wednesday night country, blues, and rock lineup will have two new shows to enjoy starting Wednesday November 8th. Joining Baton Rouge Community Radio will be Life is a Rock, 8:00-9:00pm, and ALTitude, from 9:00-10:00pm.
Life is a Rock is a classic rock program with a weekly theme on historic events and milestones of rock personalities from that week in history, playing the hits and the B-sides by those same artists.
ALTitude is a show featuring alternative pop / power pop music. From the show’s host, Madison Square: “I say it’s ‘adult alternative pop, power pop, classic alternative and whatever else fits the groove.’ It’s Elvis Costello meets Jellyfish. And there’s a Beatle Break halfway through. The show’s really about the music, the stories, the fun.”