Ten Percent of Floridians Are Forbidden From Voting Thanks to Previous Felony Convictions

Ten Percent of Floridians Are Forbidden From Voting Thanks to Previous Felony Convictions
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More than one out of ten Florida adult citizens are unable to vote. That's the highest rate in the nation by far. In fact, about half of all disenfranchised Americans in the entire country are right here in Florida.

Why is that? Because Florida places some of the toughest standards on adults to regain their voting status after being convicted of a felony. 

Unsurprisingly, disenfranchisement hits African-Americans the hardest, with 23.3 percent of Florida's black population being unable to vote, according to the Sentencing Foundation. That's also the highest rate in America. 

All but two states revoke a prisoner's right to vote (in Maine and Vermont prisoners are allowed to vote by absentee ballot). Most states, however, have laws in place that allow ex-convicts to regain voting rights automatically after a certain amount of time. In some states, they have voting rights restored as soon as they're released. 

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That's not the case in Florida according to Watchdog.org. Floridians must wait five to seven years after the end of their probation just to apply to have their voting rights restored. There is no provision in the state that automatically reinstates anyone's rights. 

Charlie Crist tried to change that in 2007, but Gov. Rick Scott, of course, reversed those provisions during his first year in office. 

In a swing state like Florida every vote matters, and any attempts to reform Florida's strict system of restoring voting rights are strongly opposed by many Republicans. 


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