The ex-felon vote in Florida.

Nothing has changed as far as voting is concerned in the state of Florida since its entry into the union as a slave state. Every political party has tried to rig registration, voter qualifications and the counts at the polling stations. I have even see counties try to dismiss military votes from war zones because they were late or had minor irregularities.

The single largest group of citizens of the state has been silenced at the polls based on denial of civil liberties because they were ex-felons. This is a throwback to the Jim Crow laws that flowed from the post-Civil War period to shut out the blacks. It rose its head in the 2000 elections of Jeb Bush to the governorship. Bush in Denial on Florida’s Voting Scandal

Charlie Crisp who followed Bush as governor set in motion a process that would automatically restore civil liberties to ex-felons upon release from prison. However, one of Governor Scotts actions were to turn back the clock to deny ex-felons voting rights for a minimum of five years after release from prison. Notice that this would silence a voting block of some one million potential voters.Lawmaker, civil rights advocates continue to decry rollback of felon voting rights

 The reader needs to be aware that all to many state wide as well as national elections are won and/or lost on razor thin margins. The name of the game is to control voting districts as well as who registers. You only have to look at the first Bush presidential elections to appreciate this point.

What was not apparent at the time Scott turned back the clock on felon voting rights was the scope of his privatization of the state prison system. The felons that had their votes restored would have seen through the scandal associated with the prison privatization program and acting as a single issue voting block would have not only block the issue but any chances of Scotts re-election as well as that of every legislature that voted for privatization.

What generally escapes attention is the connection between felons engaged in the political process. ‘…Critics of the new policy point to a recent report by the Parole Commission that found that the state’s recidivism rate, or the rate at which offenders wind up back in prison within three years of being released, was about 33 percent for the period between 2001 and 2008, while felons whose rights have been restored returned to custody at a rate of 11 percent from 2009 to 2010…”  Lawmaker, civil rights advocates continue to decry rollback of felon voting rights

The Orlando Sentinel makes an incredible case that seems to be lost on the public as a whole: ‘…

About 1 million taxpaying citizens in Florida are prohibited by law from voting.

Read that again, please. Taxpaying citizens. Prohibited by law. From voting.

There’s a lifetime ban on voting and exercising other civil rights in Florida for anyone convicted of a felony. There is an option to apply to have your rights restored, but that process takes years and most former felons don’t bother, which means Florida has essentially locked in a two-tier system of citizenship: those who may vote and those who may not….’

There are 47 states in this country which have an automatic system for the restoration of civil liberties to include voting. Makes you wonder how they could survive as democracies by allowing felons to vote. Restoration of rights should be automatic for ex-felons

The latest move to purge voting rolls came about last month and my guess is that it is in preparation of the national elections. The one thing that has to be said is that Chicago could learn a lot from Florida refined controll of voting rights and eligibility.  Justice Department lawsuit challenges Florida voter purge

This entry was posted in Corruption, Re-entry, Rural Poverty Program, The Journey, The Problem, Vigilante Justice and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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