Former inmates’ voting rights ought to be fast-tracked

I loved Caleb Gayle’s article in the Jan. 5 Ideas section (“Think the Constitution guarantees your right to vote? Think again”). However, although Gayle writes that the 15th Amendment says that “voting rights can no longer be limited based on . . . prior status as a slave,” the actual words of the 15th Amendment are “previous condition of servitude.” The 13th Amendment makes it clear that confinement as punishment for a crime is considered a condition of servitude. Therefore, the class of people who cannot be deprived of voting rights includes those who were previously incarcerated. Those who have served their time should be granted their constitutional right to vote and should not need any other action by legislatures, governors, or referendums.

Jon Plotkin