Should John Ford be allowed to run for office or cast a ballot again?

Local News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. ( – Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on news that John Ford filed to run for General Session Court Clerk.

For those of us who have been around Memphis for decades, John Ford is a name that evokes lots of images. For some it’s the image of a skilled politician and public servant. For others, it’s an image of arrogance and corruption.

Some people believe Ford has paid his dues to society and deserves the same rights as every other citizen. While others say he should not hold elected office ever again. 

Ford at one time was a powerful state senator. But since serving a prison sentence for corruption tied to the infamous Tennessee Waltz scandal, he has basically kept a low profile. Now, he wants to return to public office and has filed to run for General Sessions Court clerk.

But there’s one big problem. A state law bars convicted felons from holding elected office. And Ford and his lawyers will have to do battle on that in court.

But there is another disturbing aspect of the Ford saga. When he got his civil rights restored in 2017, it came with an order that he is forever disqualified from voting in Tennessee. That is wrong. To disenfranchise people, including past felons, for life, goes against what America should stand for – equal opportunity under law.

We can debate whether Ford should be elected again. Personally, I don’t think so. But he absolutely should be allowed to cast a ballot for others. And that’s my point of view.

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