a bird and a bottle


More on FL Felons & the Vote
April 6, 2007, 9:47 am
Filed under: civil rights, criminal justice, law, news & views, politics

Yesterday I was overjoyed to see that Fl. Gov. Charlie Crist followed through on his campaign promise to restore to (most) felons the right to vote.

But some of my joy may have been naive. Yale Law Prof and blogger Jack Balkin explains why:

The compromise does not mean that most ex-felons in Florida will be able to vote, because the state must identify people who have long ago served their time to see whether they meet the new criteria. In addition, some ex-felons may not be able to afford to pay restitution and will be barred from the administrative process to restore voting rights until they do.

It looks like the new law will be easy to implement with regard to people who are currently incarcerated but much harder to make work retrospectively. How long will it take? Was there a goal date in the law? Not as far as I know…

Florida has a recent history of voting rights violations. Professor Balkin is curious to see how this will mesh with that history; will the disenfranchisement of voters in heavily Democratic areas continue? Perhaps it’s overly optimistic, but it seems to me this law will at make the purge of anyone whose name resembles that of a convicted felon (which happened in 2000) much more difficult — or will at least give those people recourse.

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