George F. Will, a conservative columnist, writes in Newsweek that Democratic Senators Boxer, Clinton, and Jones are being hypocritical when they advocate allowing convicted felons to remain enfranchised. He says their law is unconstitutional because it tells states who may and may not vote (last time we trusted to states to decide on their own we had a civil war. Go figure). He suggests that their only concern is getting more Democratic votes since a large percentage of Black men are convicted felons. He says "12% of all African-American men in their 20s are incarcerated." Since Blacks tend to vote overwhelmingly Democratic, this would be a purely selfish ploy.
I won't argue that point. Unlike conservative commentators, I don't pretend to know what other people are thinking at all times. I do support this legislation and here's why. Our government was formed to protect us against tyranny. It has a number of protections written into the law to prevent it from abusing our freedoms. The problem with disenfranching convicted criminals (although I agree in principle - these people obviously don't represent the cream of our society) is that it gives the government the power to decide which people elect the government. Don't like an organization's stance in your district? Get them convicted of minor crimes and prevent them from voting. For the rest of their lives.
Maybe this isn't a likely scenario. But don't fall into the trap of thinking that people are criminals because they are convicted of criminal acts. People are convicted of criminal acts because they are criminals. Usually.