Florida bans 1.5 million felons from voting unless the governor personally restores their rights. Governor Scott has no standards or rules for deciding which felons get to vote, and many are subjected to humiliating questions. As Scott sat in judgment, the lowest number of black felons in 50 years regained the right to vote, The Post found in a first-ever analysis of who got their rights back.
Palm Beach Post Oct 24, 2018
All I ask is that you view the imbedded video critically. Then we may agree on the necessity and ethics of the event.
This is the work done by Florida’s Commission for the Restoration of Voting Rights. A body that is as superfluous as a fifth wheel to a car. This legally constituted Commission has no collective power. The singular authority lies with the commission’s head, the Governor of Florida. It is awesome power. It is a usurpation of citizens’ rights and within the context of the law? The Governor can do whatever pleases him, and the citizen has minuscule chances of appeal, or otherwise contest the Governor’s decision. This is why it ought to be offensive to everyone. In the hands of a tainted character such as Governor Rick Scott, misuse is as predictable as it is inevitable. It is wrong!
Please bear in mind that we pay public officials, not to rule over us, but to serve lawfully, conscientiously, with dignity and integrity. Those virtues are not evident in the video and nothing suggests that they are ever there in similar meetings. The questioning seen, is irrelevant and inappropriate for the purpose of whatever the objective pretends to be.
Felony disenfranchisement is the exclusion from voting of people otherwise eligible to vote (known as disfranchisement) due to conviction of a criminal offense, usually restricted to the more serious class of crimes: felonies (crimes of incarceration for a duration of more than a year). Felony disenfranchisement is one among the collateral consequences of criminal conviction and the loss of rights due to conviction for criminal offense.Proponents have argued that persons who commit felonies have ‘broken’ the social contract, and have thereby given up their right to participate in a civil society. Some argue that felons have shown poor judgment, and that they should therefore not have a voice in the political decision-making process. Opponents have argued that such disfranchisement restricts and conflicts with principles of universal suffrage. It can affect civic and communal participation in general. Opponents argue that felony disenfranchisement can create dangerous political incentives to skew criminal law in favor of disproportionately targeting groups who are political opponents of those who hold power.
Suffrage, Enfranchisement, Voting Rights, is a passion in me. My first duty is to gather sufficient, varied information that may help me get to the best conclusion I am capable of. If my decision is contingent on anything other than the veracity and cogency of what is before me, then I must prepare myself to live in ignorance as to the particular area of concern, and possibly abett injustice.
Governor Scott does not deserve our trust. I will share some links that may help to elucidate my perspective.
The United States is among the most punitive nations in the world when it comes to denying the vote to those who have been convicted of a felony offense.In the U.S., the Constitution implicitly permits the states to adopt rules about disenfranchisement “for participation in rebellion, or other crime”, by the Fourteenth Amendment, section 2. It is up to the states to decide which crimes could be grounds for disenfranchisement, and they are not formally bound to restrict this to felonies; however, in most cases, they do.[citation needed Felons who have completed their sentences are allowed to vote in most U.S. states. Between 1996 and 2008 twenty-eight states changed their laws on felon voting rights, mostly to restore rights or to simplify the process of restoration. Since 2008 state laws have continued to shift, both curtailing and restoring voter rights, sometimes over short periods of time within the same state.In several Southern states, felony disenfranchisement was implemented as part of a strategy to bar African-Americans from voting. Conjoint with felony disenfranchisement, these Southern states implemented Black Codes which established severe penalties for petty crimes and were used to target African-Americans.Current practices
As of 2008 over 5.3 million people in the United States were denied the right to vote due to felony disenfranchisement. In the national elections in 2012, the various state felony disenfranchisement laws together blocked an estimated 5.85 million felons from voting, up from 1.2 million in 1976. This comprised 2.5% of the potential voters in general. The state with the highest number of disenfranchised voters was Florida, with 1.5 million disenfranchised.Reform efforts
Felony disenfranchisement was a topic of debate during the 2012 Republican presidential primary. Primary candidate Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania argued for the restoration of voting rights for convicted felons who had completed sentences and parole/probation. Santorum’s position was attacked and distorted by Mitt Romney, who alleged that Santorum supported voting rights for felons while incarcerated. Former President Barack Obama supports voting rights for ex-offenders.In the years 1997 to 2008, there was a trend to lift the disenfranchisement restrictions, or simplify the procedures for applying for the restoration of civil rights for persons who had fulfilled their punishments for felonies. As a result, in 2008 more than a half million people had the right to vote who would have been disenfranchised under the older rules. Since then, more severe disenfranchisement rules have been passed in several states.
In 2007, Florida‘s Republican Governor Charlie Crist pushed to make it easier for most convicted felons to regain their voting rights reasonably quickly after serving their sentences and probation terms. In March 2011, however, Republican Governor Rick Scott reversed the 2007 reforms. Felons may not apply to the court for restoration of voting rights until seven years after completion of sentence, probation and parole.In Iowa in July 2005, Democratic Governor Tom Vilsack issued an executive order restoring the right to vote for all persons who had completed supervision. On October 31, 2005, Iowa’s Supreme Court upheld mass re-enfranchisement of convicted felons. But, on his inauguration day, January 14, 2011, Republican Governor Terry Branstad reversed Vilsack’s executive order, disenfranchising thousands of people.The Virginia legislature in 2017 debated relaxation of the state’s policy that restoration of voting rights requires an individual act by the governor.Nine other states disenfranchise felons for various lengths of time following their conviction. Except for Maine and Vermont every state prohibits felons from voting while in prison.Constitutionality
Unlike most laws that burden the right of citizens to vote based on some form of social status, felony disenfranchisement laws have been held to be constitutional. In Richardson v. Ramirez (1974), the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of felon disenfranchisement statutes, finding that the practice did not deny equal protection to disenfranchised voters. The Court looked to Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which proclaims that States in which adult male citizens are denied the right to vote for any reason other than “participation in rebellion, or other crime,” will suffer a reduction in the basis of their representation in Congress. Based on this language, the Court found that this amounted to an “affirmative sanction” of the practice of felon disenfranchisement, and the 14th Amendment could not prohibit in one section that which is expressly authorized in another.
But, critics[who?] of the practice argue that Section 2 of the 14th Amendment allows, but does not represent an endorsement of, felony disenfranchisement statutes as constitutional in light of the equal protection clause and is limited only to the issue of reduced representation. The Court ruled in Hunter v. Underwood 471 U.S. 222, 232 (1985) that a state’s crime disenfranchisement provision will violate Equal Protection if it can be demonstrated that the provision, as enacted, had “both [an] impermissible racial motivation and racially discriminatory impact.” (The law in question also disenfranchised people convicted of vagrancy, adultery, and any misdemeanor “involving moral turpitude“; the test case involved two individuals who faced disenfranchisement for presenting invalid checks, which the state authorities had found to be morally turpid behavior.) A felony disenfranchisement law, which on its face is indiscriminate in nature, cannot be invalidated by the Supreme Court unless its enforcement is proven to racially discriminate and to have been enacted with racially discriminatory animus.This truth is unassailable. We cannot have a government based on representative democracy if we impede, suppress or otherwise corrupt the very processes through which the machinery of democracy works. Where that is allowed, all institutions of government rot. Citizens lose confidence. Over time government is replaced by the party and the party eventually replaced by a person. We are nearly there. We must act now!
Boasting a traditional Christian culture based on confession/acknowledgement, expiation, forgiveness/reconciliation obvious as practiced in bankruptcy, everyone deserves a second chance. An opportunity to re-establish trust in the communities they live and work.Conduct good enough to reward for good behaviour. But suddenly one man stands as as in the fabled, Before the Law. He picks, he chooses, he denies citizens the opportunity for reintegration and purposeful living in society. This seriously flawed public official is the sole authority. He cannot morally justify his role personally or politically. Capricious, punitive, racist and unbalanced he takes the very law and manipulates it for his own advantage to higher ambition.