On March 10, while cycling through a litany of complaints about H.R. 1, the For The People Act, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade complained that the bill “restores voting rights for convicted felons -- who wants people in jumpsuits voting?” The same morning, Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo lied that H.R. 1 allows “voting for, potentially, inmates.” These comments echo an earlier lie from Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, who claimed that the bill would allow convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to vote while he is serving a life sentence.
In reality, the bill clearly states that the restoration of voting rights for felons would not apply when a person is still “serving a felony sentence in a correctional institution or facility at the time of the election.”
Those who have completed felony sentences are already allowed to vote in 18 states, including GOP-controlled states such as Indiana and Utah. In another set of states, convicted felons are still disenfranchised during parole and/or probation but can regain their full rights after that period, though they might also still have to pay outstanding fines and other fees.
H.R. 1 aims to change the law in a number of states that continue to indefinitely disenfranchise convicted felons, explaining that "current racial disparities in felony disenfranchisement are linked to this history of voter suppression, structural racism in the criminal justice system, and ongoing effects of historical discrimination.”
But on Fox News, the response to legislation seeking to overturn a legacy of the Jim Crow era is a panicked cry of “people in jumpsuits voting.”