Felony Disenfranchisement in Florida

Political analysis of felon disenfranchisement in Florida.

Felon disenfranchisement is all too common across the country. This is a political analysis of felon disenfranchisement in Florida, which is one of three states to permanently bar all citizens with felony convictions from voting, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. Thank you for watching!

Comments (17)
No. 1-17
Philip Carino
Philip Carino

@Felix grammar nazi because Sam didn't have an issue with it, still understood what I said, we advanced the discussion without the need to nitpick on one's use of words and live happily ever after. Man, you need to chill out. Really. lol. And we are actually not even advancing the arguments anymore because we have digressed a lot by focusing on the wrong word choice. I have nothing to add here too hahaha . You can continue your conversation with the others

Sam Jenkins
Sam Jenkins

Editor

Haha John, sorry for the late response. I'll try to address your points in the comment. First, I think only elite democrats hang their hats on the ex felons. Others Ds, including myself, aren't really focusing on the electoral politics. Instead, we are focusing on the moral question -- that is giving people a second chance and giving them something all citizens deserve, the right to vote. Second, I don't think you meant education levels should be a requirement to voting as @FelixCulpa stipulates (although I could be wrong). So I absolutely believe criminal justice reform should be part of the equation. The problem is our legislature doesn't get much done and the constitutional ballot question only deals directly with the disenfranchisement provision. I hope that addresses your points :) Thanks for the comment

FelixCulpa
FelixCulpa

So let me get this straight; I figured out what you meant to say, even though you used the wrong word, represented your POV Fairly, and advanced this discussion without presuming to speak on your behalf, yet somehow your lack of knowledge makes me a "grammar nazi"? Explain.

Philip Carino
Philip Carino

HAHAHA You crack me up with your grammar nazi tendencies my friend! Yes I meant that it's only fair. And seeing facts now, Rick Scott is one harsh fella.

FelixCulpa
FelixCulpa

You don't really endorse using "education levels" or their individual (highly subjective) "prison experience" as part of the criteria for who should vote, do you John? Maybe throw in a literacy test, and ask them "how many bubbles in a bar of soap" too, if you wanna do the thing properly. As far as "pandering for the votes of people who will be grateful" I'd be grateful to ANY party that would keep me out of the clutches of a system like that. "Education levels", pah! Infamous nonsense, I say. You should know better John.

Jon Saltzman
Jon Saltzman

Editor

Hello? Sam? What about what I said?

FelixCulpa
FelixCulpa

Yeah, I'm pretty sure both you and Phil meant different things by "amenable". I won't pretend to know his mind but my guess is that he meant it as "fair or appropriate".

Sam Jenkins
Sam Jenkins

Editor

On paper, one's right to vote can be *restored? In reality, one's right to vote is lost for good.

FelixCulpa
FelixCulpa

AMENABLE; adj. Open and responsive to suggestion; easily persuaded or controlled. I'm not sure that amenable is what y'all mean. AmenDable maybe? Enlighten me, if you would.

Sam Jenkins
Sam Jenkins

Editor

On paper, it is amenable. But Rick Scott has only granted clemency to 2,500 people since 2011. For reference, his predecessor, Charlie Crist, granted clemency to over 150,000 people during his term. So it's basically a permanent ban from voting now once you are convicted of a felony.

FelixCulpa
FelixCulpa

@Philip Carino I think maybe the word you're looking for is equitable, instead of amenable? I'd also add that it's not ONLY prisoners, but all felons. My main beef is not they're deprived of voting rights during their term in prison, or whatever other sentence the court decides, but that those rights only MAY be re-enfranchised (but probably not going by the numbers), as opposed to WILL be re-enfranchised, after that sentence is served.

FelixCulpa
FelixCulpa

I don't think that felony disenfranchisement is justifiable. If you compare the two main arguments for imprisoning people you get A)Rehabilitation and B)Retribution. If Rehabilitation is the goal, then removing the person's ability to participate in the democracy which is the underpinning of our society is counter-indicated. If Retribution is the goal, then by all means require them to wait until the last erg of their sentence is served, whether it's probation or finishing up their community service, or whatever. But once they've paid what society says they owe, they should be returned the rights and privileges that they were denied while in its debt. To deny somebody who's paid their dues the rights of a citizen because of the wanton caprices of men in power smacks of authoritarianism. I'd like see Brutus from The Green Mile saying to Rick Scott "He's paid what he's owed; he's square with the house again, so keep your goddamn hands off him!".

Philip Carino
Philip Carino

Welcome back Sam! Florida has always been harsh to prisoners voting rights but isn't that amenable? You violate laws then some of your civil liberties will be curtailed but may be re-enfranchised after sentence service, parole or fines.

Jon Saltzman
Jon Saltzman

Editor

Great piece Sam. The real question is do Democrats in Florida really want to hang their hats on ex Felons? VA led the way in this regard. I'm really torn on this issue. On the one hand, after someone has paid what the law says they should for a crime, society should restore their rights. On the other side is the recidivism rate which is high. Look here: https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=6266 There are a lot of factors involved, educational levels of released inmates, the whole prison experience and violence, etc. The question is, shouldn't voting rights for felons be combined with some meaningful prison reform? Otherwise, it just looks like Democrats are pandering for the votes of people who will be grateful - again. And hey, who's to say that all of these felons are Democrats. Give the Republicans their due- they have felons among them too. :)

Pat Greer
Pat Greer

Editor

Voldemort...lol. Good video. We will chat further this week.



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