Sunday, December 09, 2007

Voting in Florida

From a slightly-dated article in the NYT:

Only two states, Maine and Vermont, have no restrictions, even permitting inmates to vote. At the other extreme, three states, Florida, Kentucky and Virginia, still have lifetime bans on voting by felons. Nine others bar selected groups of offenders for life.


Felony convictions have left one in four black men barred from voting in five states: Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Virginia and Wyoming, said Ryan S. King, author of the report and a policy analyst at the Sentencing Project.

Recently Florida has taken steps to distance itself from those backwaters, Kentucky and Virginia, restoring voting rights for some felons. I think we should all be like Maine and Vermont, letting everyone vote, because even prisoners have to live here too, but it's a step in the right direction.

So, if you're a former felon, or you know someone who is, check here for more information on registering to vote in Florida.

More on felony disenfranchisement from The Sentencing Project.

Then again, a bunch of us Floridians apparently live in Duluth, Georgia.


mahakal said...

There should be no disenfranchisement of anyone who wishes to cast a vote. Particularly since felons may be political prisoners and conversely it is a good way to silence an opposition if allowable.

Steve Bates said...

I wish to note that the much-maligned State of Texas is not among the "backwaters" you list. A felon's voting rights are restored upon request after his/her sentence is complete.

Indeed, this was an issue in sElection 2000, as the infamous Katherine Harris apparently instructed ChoicePoint to treat former Texas felons who had moved to Florida as if their voting rights status depended on Florida law, when in fact those rights were restored before they left Texas for Florida.

But what's a little thing like violating another state's laws, when one is destined to become... what? she didn't win? Oh, well, I guess that makes it OK, then. Never mind all those illegally disenfranchised voters.

I tend to agree that every living American adult should be permitted to vote, at least in federal elections. Otherwise, if we insist on disqualifying people on presumed moral issues or mental status, I want a say in who gets disenfranchised, because I know of some crazy and immoral bastards out there. (Just kidding, of course. I favor a universal franchise.)

Anonymous said...

They keep using direct mail companies and that just doesn't work. I wrote software for some of the biggest direct mail outfits in San Diego county, and scrubbing the "deadwood" from those lists was an art.

If you bought a targeted list that was 90% accurate you had struck gold.

First you had to run the lists against the post office's list of valid addresses, which also provided the zip+4 and carrier route information, and lost some percentage to bogus addresses or change of addresses [the USPS makes good money on that service]. Then you ran it against the death certificate list to eliminate the recently deceased.

With all of that you are lucky to get 75%, and there will be another drop off when the undeliverables are returned.

Vertical Response [VR Solutions] is a California direct mailing outfit, so why are they being used by Florida?

hipparchia said...

Vertical Response [VR Solutions] is a California direct mailing outfit, so why are they being used by Florida?

i wondered that too, so googlenut taht i am, i went looking and found this. my guess: naked politics got the name of the company wrong in their blog post.

hipparchia said...

steve, have you never heard of states rights, man? who do you think you are, making us recognize your franchises?

i'm not sure i'd heard of that particular dirty trick. i've been more focused on the fact that were dirty tricks, and what the results were. always good to learn how the opposition does things, though. thanks for pointing it out.

hipparchia said...

clarification: change i wondered that too to now that you mention it, i'm curious about that too.[about vr solutions]

hipparchia said...


i think one could probably make a case for classifying a lot of those black males as political prisoners. definitely the florida shenanigans look like silencing likely opposition.

otoh, i look around, listen to the folks here and read the words of others on the web... i think maybe some of this unduly harsh sentencing has come about from pure meanness, with perhaps a good dollop of fear thrown in, but without overt racism. of course, it ends up further institutionalizing the overt [and covert] racism that does exist.