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Fic: The Right to Vote (White Collar)

Title: The Right to Vote
Author: kaylashay
Rating: FR13
Disclaimer: I'm not USA / Jeff Eastin / etc., so I don't claim to own them.
Genre: Gen
Warnings: none
Word Count: 961
Beta: All mistakes are mine and mine alone...
HC Bingo Square: humiliation

Summary: Leading up to the election, Neal has a lot to learn in order to blend in to his environment.


It was part of Neal's nature to be able to converse intelligently with a diverse group of people. The skill allowed him to blend in with all walks of life and opened doors that he otherwise would have had to lock pick his way through. So when talk around the office turned to politics as the elections neared, Neal delved into the dearth of information on all the candidates. He would be armed and ready to carry on a conversation no matter if the other person were a liberal or conservative.

As expected, Diana was liberal in practically every way. Her sexual orientation and stance on women rights had formed strong opinions when it came to what kind of laws should exist to intrude on people's private lives. He did attempt a debate with her on gun control, but she was a definite conservative when it came to that while he was for stricter enforcements.

Jones seemed to be all over the place. He based his vote more on the candidate and not what their party represented. Neal listened attentively as Jones told him about providing campaign support to various politicians during his college years. Neal loved to learn knew things and he never knew when getting his foot in the door of a campaign would be useful.

Peter was mostly a conservative, which didn't shock Neal in the least. He would complain about how there was always one aspect of a particular conservative that he couldn't get behind when it came to support though. Most of it revolved around women's rights and with Elizabeth for his wife, Neal figured that Peter had to tow the line in that regard.

Through downtime in the office, Neal learned more than enough about everyone's political leanings. Even the new mail boy who was doing an internship would happily talk about his first chance at voting in a major election. Every word was like gold to Neal and he soaked it up.

Then came the day. While he had been listening and weighing in on every debate throughout the office, Neal hadn't actually thought about the day itself. When he heard Diana and Jones say they were taking an early day since they didn't have a case, he thought it odd. Especially when he noticed that the office was practically empty and everyone seemed to be taking partial days or long lunches. When Peter asked around two if he wanted a lift, Neal didn't question it. He just went along.

As they were leaving he parking garage, Peter asked the question that made Neal flush. "Which precinct do I need to drop you off at?"

For once, Neal couldn't think of anything to say. His face felt flush and the last place he wanted to be was in a car with Peter. Peter finally noticed his silence and looked over at him.

"Neal?" Peter questioned him, but Neal still couldn't talk. The humiliation that Peter of all Peter had forgotten was too much.

"Let me know which precinct you need to go to. You've been talking about this for two months, so I know you want to voice your opinion. Then I have to try to make it back to mine before the polls close. At least we didn't have a case. That happened a few years ago and pissed a lot of people off. Neal?"

Peter questioned again and Neal knew there was no way out of this. He didn't have a clue where any of the polling places where near June's, so pulling a con on Peter wouldn't work.

"I can't vote, Peter," he said softly, feeling his face flush yet again. Voting was a right that every American had, but his had been stripped away.

"What-" Peter started and then abruptly cut himself off. Neal winced when Peter pulled the car to a stop and turned to face him. "I forgot," Peter sounded disappointed in himself.

"You want to know the strange thing?" Neal found himself talking now, letting everything spill out in a rush. "I never really thought of it. I ran from home when I was eighteen and doing the things I'm alleged to have done doesn't lend itself to a permanent address, let alone registering to vote. In prison, it's not even a thought. The last thing you talk about in the yard or mess is what someone thinks about gun control. And now, everyone was talking about it, so I talked about it too. But with that still strapped around my ankle, there's no voting for me," Neal said as he jerked his hand toward the tracking anklet.

Neal hung his head, trying not to feel as embarrassed as he was. Logically, he knew that being a convicted felon would have repercussions, but he didn't think about the basic rights that everyone else took for granted. He looked up when he felt Peter's hand squeeze his shoulder.

"New York only limits your right to vote during your sentence and parole if I recall correctly. Once you get that anklet off, you can vote all you want."

"You really think I'll make it that far?" Neal asked.

"You can if you want to," Peter said confidently. "Plus, I'm here to keep you inline."

"More like clean up the mess I leave behind me," Neal said, a smile starting to return to his face.

"That too," Peter said. "How about you head to my polling place with me. See democracy in action."

"You do know that America is a republic, not a democracy, right?" Neal said perking up thanks to Peter's easy acceptance of his limitations. Neal silently made a promise to himself that he would finish his sentence just so he could vote. At least once, that is.

Comments

( 24 Campfires — Leave a Comment )
hawk_soaring
Jun. 30th, 2013 01:18 am (UTC)
Awww...
kaylashay
Jul. 1st, 2013 12:58 am (UTC)
Thanks!
hurinhouse
Jun. 30th, 2013 03:41 am (UTC)
this rings true - it makes sense that neal would never have voted. my guess is that mozzie is registered to vote in multiple states under various names but since neal was moving around so often, he probably never got around to it. great idea for a fic, well done.
kaylashay
Jul. 1st, 2013 12:59 am (UTC)
Mozzie probably spends the day voting in every precinct he make it to and then doing absentee ballots for the rest.

Glad you liked. :)
nieseryjna
Jun. 30th, 2013 07:41 am (UTC)
This is great! We so often forget what the anklet really means, and this is amazing piece showing the restrictions we don't really think about. And Peter, oh Peter :)
kaylashay
Jul. 1st, 2013 01:00 am (UTC)
Thanks! There are many things that his sentence keeps him from and not just that two mile radius he's limited to. :)
x_varda_x
Jun. 30th, 2013 10:23 am (UTC)
Great fic! I'd never really thought about Neal's voting ability (or lack thereof) :)
kaylashay
Jul. 1st, 2013 01:02 am (UTC)
Thanks! I know a guy who has a felony in his past and it has limited him in many ways and made people see him differently after they found out about it. At least in the state of NY, Neal will get that particular right back after he does his time.
sapphire2309
Jun. 30th, 2013 12:50 pm (UTC)
I feel bad for Neal, but at least he has motivation to stay out of jail and have his ankle minus the blinking jewelry;)
That is always good.
kaylashay
Jul. 1st, 2013 01:03 am (UTC)
He definitely has the motivation, as long as he thinks before he acts. :)
elrhiarhodan
Jun. 30th, 2013 01:02 pm (UTC)
Love it - and especially that you got it right - that Neal will be allowed to vote once he completes his parole.

Brava!
kaylashay
Jul. 1st, 2013 01:05 am (UTC)
Thanks! I found a nifty website (http://felonvoting.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=286) that broke out which state does what. Of course my state of Kentucky is in the 'may lose permanently' category.
love_82
Jun. 30th, 2013 01:52 pm (UTC)
You know it is such an obvious restriction that someone serving a sentence would have but I never thought about Neal's ability to vote. I enjoyed the little looks at the characters. And it makes sense that Peter would forget. It shows that he doesn't think of Neal as a felon anymore.

But I am sure that Mozzie is registered to vote enough times to vote for Neal and everyone else. :)

Very nice story.
kaylashay
Jul. 1st, 2013 01:06 am (UTC)
Mozzie would have definitely covered Neal's vote and then some. Of course, Mozzie probably doesn't have the same political leanings as Neal. *ponders*

Glad you liked. :)
aelfgyfu_mead
Jun. 30th, 2013 04:05 pm (UTC)
At least Neal will be able to vote. In Florida, convicted felons have to wait five to seven years, then have to file and have a board find in their favor to have voting rights restored (see, for example, http://felonvoting.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=286#florida).

I like the idea of Neal voting for the first time when he has finished his sentence.
kaylashay
Jul. 1st, 2013 01:08 am (UTC)
That's the site I used to make sure I had NY right on the when he would get it back. My state of KY is also in the 'may lose permanently' category unless the governor signs off on a document that they have to submit after their sentence to request the right back.
dennih23
Jun. 30th, 2013 10:27 pm (UTC)
This story makes you stop and think – how lucky we are to have the rights we do, and voting is a privilege. Nice to see how Neal wanted to participate in the conversations and know what was going on even if he could not vote. I am sure he will get the chance to vote soon enough (and we know Moz is voting more than once), and Peter will help keep him in line so that he will get free of the anklet soon enough.
kaylashay
Jul. 1st, 2013 01:09 am (UTC)
Peter will do his best to keep him in line. And Mozzie voted enough to cover everyone. I'm sure he votes absentee in more than one state. :)
aragarna
Jul. 1st, 2013 10:55 am (UTC)
Oh I like it. :-)
This is right, we rarely think of the REAL meaning of Neal being a convincted felon.
I liked that you adress a realistic issue, something from our daily lives, that we can relate to. A little different feeling than most of the fics.

And I didn't know that the right to vote again once you've done your time wasn't automatic everywhere in the US. So thanks for the educational opportunity too !
kaylashay
Jul. 2nd, 2013 03:19 am (UTC)
Thanks! There are many things that Neal's status does allow beyond the 2 mile radius thing.

It varies from state to state with the right to vote. There are a few that allow convicts to vote as absentee in elections. Some make it tough for them to ever vote again, even after the time is served.
sinfulslasher
Jul. 6th, 2013 03:09 pm (UTC)
This is absolutely amazing! Such a "small" thing that you'd never even stop to think about it, but of course it's got a profound influence on Neal.

Thanks so much for the insight into all the characters, everyone rang so true! And I had to squish Peter for forgetting about Neal's predicament but then finding the best solution. Oh boys! *smishes*
kaylashay
Jul. 6th, 2013 07:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks!! It is one of those things you don't think about that Neal's not allowed to do.

And Peter was mad at himself for forgetting it... :)
kanarek13
Jul. 6th, 2013 06:22 pm (UTC)
Awww, love this. Poor Neal, such a small thing can hurt in such unexpected way.

But Peter handled it great, making it better after the initial fail.

Great story :D
kaylashay
Jul. 6th, 2013 07:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
( 24 Campfires — Leave a Comment )

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