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    Some of Florida ex-felon vote in limbo after SCOTUS ruling

    Some of Florida ex-felon vote in limbo after SCOTUS ruling

    Why do so many people assume that ex-felons will vote Democrat?
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    Why do so many people, Democrat and Republican alike, assume that felons released from prison will vote Democrat, and that a Florida ballot initiative that passed in 2018, restoring voting to ex-felons, would help Democrats? It’s not clear that’s true, at least not to the extent people assume.

    That assumption seems to be at the heart of the political battle in Florida over the circumstances under which felons who have served their time can vote. The Florida legislature passed legislation requiring that an ex-felon, to be deemed to have served his sentence, needed to pay court-assessed fees and financial penalties.

    After a District Court issued an injunction against the requirement to pay fees, the 11th Circuit stayed the injunction pending consideration of the full case on the merits. It is unclear how that will impact the November elections, as Courthouse News reported at the time:

    A federal appeals court on Wednesday halted the voting registration of thousands of Florida felons who cannot pay fines or fees, just weeks after a lower court threw out the state law mandating payment of all legal financial obligations before voting.

    The 11th Circuit decision granted Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’ request to suspend voter registration until the full court hears the case.

    The Atlanta-based appeals court did not signal if any decision would occur before the November elections. An initial hearing is set for Aug. 11, which is past the registration deadline for Florida’s Aug. 18 primary elections.

    The Supreme Court just declined to overturn that Order by the 11th Circuit staying the District Court injunction. You can read the Application to Vacate The 11th Circuit Stay, Opposition, and Reply.

    The Supreme Court Order split along conservative-liberal lines (it’s not clear how Breyer voted):

    The application to vacate stay presented to JUSTICE THOMAS and by him referred to the Court is denied. JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR, with whom JUSTICE GINSBURG and JUSTICE KAGAN join, dissenting from denial of application to vacate stay.

    The Sotomayor dissent argued, in part:

    This Court’s order prevents thousands of otherwise eligible voters from participating in Florida’s primary election simply because they are poor. And it allows the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to disrupt Florida’s election process just days before the July 20 voter-registration deadline for the August primary, even though a preliminary injunction had been in place for nearly a year and a Federal District Court had found the State’s pay-to-vote scheme unconstitutional after an 8-day trial. I would grant the application to vacate the Eleventh Circuit’s stay.

    Since the 11th Circuit will consider the case in August, it’s very possible that the lower court injunction will be affirmed, and the ex-felons at issue will be able to vote in November. Or that it will be back at the Supreme Court at a more ripe moment. I see the Supreme Court denial of the motion to vacate the 11th Circuit stay as a mostly procedural issue.

    So back to my question, why are we assuming this hurts Democrats?


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    Gremlin1974 | July 18, 2020 at 9:45 am

    1: That belief stems from the view that Democrats are “Soft” on crime.

    2: Of course the fees and penalties should be paid they are part of the punishment.

    3: Felons, especially violent felons should not have their rights restored. They Chose to commit a crime, it should have lasting effects. It is the easiest thing in the world to NOT become a felon. Millions upon millions of people manage to do it every day.

    Disclaimer: All of the above is my opinion and if you disagree…..well I really don’t care.

      AF_Chief_Master_Sgt in reply to Gremlin1974. | July 18, 2020 at 5:06 pm

      @Gremlin1994. I concur. Violent felons should never have their voting rights restored.

      My response to anyone who says their voting rights should be restored: when their victims are restored. When the rape victim is made whole and their nightmares end. When the murder victim is resurrected from the dead. When the old lady who lost her house because the felon took her social security check is restored. When the disfigured child from a drunk driving accident shows no physical and psychological scars.

      Then and only then should their right to vote be restored.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to AF_Chief_Master_Sgt. | July 19, 2020 at 2:45 pm

        This is the most succinct and best answer I have heard to this question and encapsulates my feelings exactly. Thank you.

        100% agree, we can discuss Felons rights when their victims are made whole.

    Occasional Thinker | July 18, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    I believe that voting and gun ownership should be a package deal. If you are not mature enough due to age or deemed not responsible enough due to your criminal past to possess a firearm, then you are not mature enough or responsible enough to vote. I think that would dampen most democrats on allowing felons to vote and would be especially interesting in areas where they are attempting to extend the vote to those still incarcerated.

    CommoChief | July 19, 2020 at 11:56 am


    Yes indeed. Either restore all the rights and duties of citizenship or none.

    Personally, I believe society should restore those rights upon completion of sentences. For a first time offender. Not habitual criminals.

    Obviously this is a nuanced issue but if we believe in a path to redemption and have set up our prison systems based on that then we should follow through. Of course, I also believe that the death penalty should be more widely imposed.

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