More on felons and the political process: The Associated Press apparently did some research, discovered that America Coming Together (ACT), one of the largest national groups sending canvassers out to register and educate voters for the election, had hired some former felons, and they were shocked – just shocked. ACT’s response, to their credit, has been defending its policy:

We believe it’s important to give people a second chance,” Elleithee said. “The fact that they are willing to do this work is a fairly serious indication that they want to become productive members of society.”

RNC Chair Ed Gillespie, shamefully but unsurprisingly, is claiming that having been convicted of a felony should disqualify Americans from handling official documents with private information. His essential contention – that the democratic process is too pure to be sullied by the involvement of those with crimminal records – should be all too familiar to those who saw it marshalled by a slew of dKos posters to defend Arizona’s disenfranchisement of felons in the name of keeping Nader off the ballot.

More power to ACT for hiring everyone who’s prepared and qualified for the hard, urgent work of empowering people to make demands of our democracy. I know I’ve found few people as excited about that work here in Florida as those felons who’ve been purged from the process. Everyone (almost) claims to want to see those who’ve served their time productively and smoothly reintegrated into society. Except not into my neighborhood. Not into my workplace. Not into my democracy.

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