Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 91 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds   

Florida: Why Republican Lawmakers are Defying -- and Denying -- the Voters

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   1 comment
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Thomas Knapp

Voting booths
Voting booths
(Image by (From Wikimedia) Electiontechnology at Eng, Author: Electiontechnology at Eng)
  Details   Source   DMCA

In Florida's November 2018 election, voters approved the following amendment to their state's constitution:

"Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, any disqualification from voting arising from a felony conviction shall terminate and voting rights shall be restored upon completion of all terms of sentence including parole or probation. (b) No person convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense shall be qualified to vote until restoration of civil rights."

Seems pretty clear and concise, doesn't it? If you're a convicted felon who's not a murderer or a rapist, once you've "paid your debt to society," you get to vote just like any other citizen. Period.

But governor-elect Ron DeSantis announced that the measure would require "implementing legislation."

CNN reports that two bills now working their way through Florida's Republican-dominated House and Senate would "implement" the amendment by levying unconstitutional poll taxes court costs and incarceration fees, running from a few hundred dollars to as high as tens of thousands of dollars, on the newly eligible voters as a condition of registering and voting.

Jeff Brandes, vice chairman of the state Senate's Criminal Justice committee, claims that the clear, concise, and unambiguous constitutional amendment, passed with the approval of nearly 65% of those voting, needs to be "further refined and honed."

Why? Well ...

In the 2016 presidential election, Republican Donald Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton by about 113,000 votes in Florida.

In 2018, governor DeSantis beat his Democratic opponent, Andrew Gillum, by about 32,500 votes. Outgoing Republican governor Rick Scott beat the incumbent US Senator, Democrat Bill Nelson, by about 10,000 votes.

The passage of Amendment 4 potentially adds as many as 1.4 million voters to the state's rolls.

Who are these new voters?

Proportionally, they are more likely to be African-American than white. As of 2010, according to a University of Georgia study, 8% of Americans were convicted felons, but 33% of African-American males fell into that category. And 20% of Florida's African-American population had felony convictions on their records.

African-American voters overwhelmingly vote for the Democratic Party's candidates for public office.

If Amendment 4 is implemented as clearly, concisely, and unambiguously written, Florida will cease to be America's biggest presidential "swing state." Its 29 electoral votes will move solidly into the Democratic column.

Creative gerrymandering might allow Republicans to maintain control of the state's legislature and US House delegation, but the governor's mansion and Florida's two US Senate seats will go, and stay, blue.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Must Read 1   Supported 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Thomas Knapp Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

2020: I'm So Sick of Superlatives

America Doesn't Have Presidential Debates, But It Should

Hypocrisy Alert: Republicans Agreed with Ocasio-Cortez Until About One Minute Ago

Chickenhawk Donald: A Complete and Total Disgrace

Finally, Evidence of Russian Election Meddling ... Oh, Wait

The Nunes Memo Only Partially "Vindicates" Trump, But it Fully Indicts the FBI and the FISA Court

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend