The State of Florida currently restricts the voting rights of convicted felons. The process for re-acquiring those rights can take years and includes applying for clemency once a sentence is completed along with going before a clemency review board for evaluation. Currently, there is a backlog of over 10,000 applications which need review, and it is estimated that over 1.5 million people are ineligible to vote because of prior felony convictions. In early February, 2018, this process was found unconstitutional.
The State filed an appeal to this ruling and in reply found themselves strongly rebuked by Federal District Court Judge Mark E. Walker. In his denial of a stay pending appeal, the Judge noted:
Rather than comply with the requirements of the United States Constitution, Defendants continue to insist they can do whatever they want with hundreds of thousands of Floridians’ voting rights and absolutely zero standards [. . .]
To read more of Judge Walker’s ruling declaring the defendants arguments “neither [rooted in ] common sense nor reality”, click here.
Hand et al. v. Scott et al. – Full docket
Voting Rights Process For Florida Felons Unconstitutional Judge Says, National Public Radio, February, 2, 2018.
Federal judge claps back hard after Florida challenges ruling on felons’ voting rights, Orlando Weekly, April 5, 2018