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July 24, 2003

125,000 New Voters in Florida?

In a major legal settlement, Florida has agreed that 125,000 former felons in Florida were illegally denied information on how to restore their voting rights during the 1990s.

The result of the settlement? 31,000 of them will likely immediately get back their voting rights and be able to vote next year. The rest will be able to apply for restoration through the state clemency hearing process.

Florida is one of a handful of states that takes away a felon's voting rights for the rest of their life, unless the governor grants them their rights back through clemency hearings. Both this disenfranchisement and the mistaken barring of other legal voters as felons in 2000 helped elect Bush President-- so this restoration of voting rights is bad news for the rightwing.

An even more comprehensive lawsuit is coming before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals demanding that the whole system of permanent felon disenfranchisement be struck down as racially motivated and unconstitutional. This would restore voting rights to the estimated 600,000 Floridians denied the right to vote because of past crimes.

Posted by Nathan at July 24, 2003 08:15 PM