The Intercept documents the scale of felony disenfranchisement in Florida, the policies that have excluded so many from the ballot box, and their disproportionate impact on the black population.
No other state has a larger number of disenfranchised citizens than Florida, where more than 1.5 million people have lost the right to cast a ballot on Election Day, according to The Sentencing Project, a nonprofit prison reform group. Among Florida’s black population, the rate of disenfranchisement is high, with nearly a quarter of African-Americans prohibited from voting.
The 1.5 million figure is from 2010, and the disenfranchised population in Florida may be greater today, as the state’s disenfranchisement policies have become even more stringent since then. When Republican Governor Rick Scott took office in 2011, he reversed an executive order by his predecessor, Charlie Crist, enacting automatic rights restoration for many individuals who had completed their sentences.
Scott introduced new rules requiring that people convicted of nonviolent felonies wait five years before they can apply to have their civil rights restored; those convicted of violent and certain more serious felonies must wait seven years to apply. Under Crist, tens of thousands of felons, on average, won back their right to vote each year. So far, Gov. Scott has restored the rights of just 1,866 ex-felons, while tens of thousands of former inmates are released each year, stripped of their voting rights.
Read the full article in the Intercept.