Floridians passed a measure, by a strong majority, giving felons the right to vote. There were caveats. This didn't apply to murderers or sex offenders, and the felons had to have fulfilled all their obligations-- parole, probation and possibly repayment of all fines and moneys owed.
The estimated number of felons this affects varies. There are as many as 1.7 million felons according to the Florida ACLU. About 100,000 will not be eligible because they were convicted of murder or sexual offenses. And about 300-400,000 are still in jail. That could leave as many as 1.3 million felons eligible to vote. But...
There's a question of whether the measure includes a requirement to pay any fines owed. There are 30 states where felons may vote, but where fines and fees must be paid first. The link observes that this amounts to disenfranchisement because of debt.
The Florida ACLU memo estimates that about 40%-- over half a million-- may still owe fines or fees. So the actual eligible number of felons could be as many as 800, 000 or few as 700,000. The outcome of the Florida Gubernatorial race could affect this. It is likely that if Andrew Gillum wins, he will take a very different approach to interpreting the question of fulfilling felon responsibilities than Republican Ron DeSantis. DeSantis will probably continue disenfranchising a half million felons too poor to pay their fines. After all, voter repression and disenfranchisement is a major Republican strategy.
The article adds,
"Whichever total of felons is accurate, the figure represents roughly 10% of Florida's population--and about 20% of black adults, despite African Americans being just 14% of the state's voting-age population. The high-percentage of people of color is due to overpolicing, according to the ACLU, and the broad application of felony charges used for disenfranchisement that date back to the post-Civil War Reconstruction period in the South."
Even if the numbers are diminished, from the 1.7 to 1.2 million estimates, this new situation raises a bunch of questions about the newly enfranchised felons.
1- Who are they? The above paragraph tells us a bit about that. The Miami Herald reports,
"black voters were five times as likely as white voters to lose rights last year, the Times/Herald analysis shows.
2- Will they vote with Democrats or Republicans?
The Miami Herald article reported,
"Democratic voters were three times as likely as Republican voters to be removed."
"More than half of those who lost their voting rights, 52 percent, were Democrats like Graham and another 33 percent were independents with no party affiliation. Only 14 percent were Republicans."
3- What are the Democratic and Republican parties doing to get out their vote. These are a different demographic than the Democrats tend to seek out.
5- Will the Democratic leadership jumpstart GOTV for them ASAP? Will the Republicans?
6- Which party will come up with reasons for this new demographic to vote red or blue?
A Fortune article reports,
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