Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Michael Collins: Florida Gov. Crist Makes History

Florida Gov. Crist Makes History


Will end permanent disenfranchisement of
Florida’s 600,000 ex-felons who’ve paid their debt




Newly elected Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (right) says “Good bye to all that”
and distances from disgraced Bush elections policies.

Michael Collins
“Scoop” Independent News
Washington, DC

TALLAHASSEE, FL (AP) -- Governor Charlie Crist says he will continue working to change the rules so that felons will have their voting rights automatically restored once they have paid their debt to society.

This is one of the most revolutionary and far reaching proposals made by a governor in years. The removal of voting rights for ex-felons, those who have served their time and returned to society, is a direct descendent of the 1890 Mississippi Constitution. This document proudly listed a variety of ways Post Reconstruction whites would remove all political power form black citizens.

Crist announced that this campaign promise was a top reform priority. The St. Petersburg Times quoted him as saying, “I am going to keep pushing to get us where I think we need to be." To accomplish this by edict under Florida law, Crist needs the consent of two or three cabinet members. In order to gain support, the Times reported that there would be exclusions for those convicted of murder, rape, or major drug trafficking.

During Reconstruction black American voting rates in the South were very high. Blacks and whites serving together in elected governments for years. When the Republicans traded the presidency for an end to Federal presence in the former Confederate states, the Compromise of 1876, Reconstruction ended and so did the rights of blacks to vote. This effort is part of general trend scholars Christopher Uggen and Jeff Manza termed Democratic Contraction, a means of denying universal suffrage for political advantage.

Once charged with a felony, almost any felony, you lose your right to vote, permanently in 14 states. As a result, 3.9 million Americans are disenfranchised for life due to felony convictions. Over 600,000 Floridians, mostly minority, mostly male, have lost their right to vote even though they have served their sentences. Florida is far from unique.

In Virginia, for example, over 200,000 males, mostly black Americans, have no right to vote due to felon disenfranchisement. Just before leaving office, former Virginia Governor Mark Warner was urged to restore ex felon voting rights by proclamation. He refused. His successor, Tom Kaine, Dem touts the efficiency of the restoration of voting rights. However, only a negligible number of ex felons have been returned to the rolls.

Crist’s proposal represents a serious attempt to right this long time wrong and end the ties between the New South and the racist legacy that survives even today in attacks on the voting rights of black Americans. He does so knowing that this may hurt his party and his own chances for re-election. Why? We can’t know for sure but there is every reason to believe that he’s doing this because it’s the right thing to do and it’s long overdue.

Take Action

Feel free to forward this article to the following governors, all of whom run states where ex felons are denied the right to vote permanently. Tell them you noticed that Gov. Crist will give over 600,000 Floridians the right to vote without expecting anything in return.

State, Governor, percent of total population disenfranchised, percent blacks disenfranchised

Alabama Bob Riley, Rep (7.5 - 31.5%)
Arizona Janet Napolitano, Dem (2.3 - 12.1%)
Delaware Ruth Ann Minner, Dem (3.7 - 20%)
Florida (Send a thank you to Gov Crist) (5.9 - 31.2%)
Iowa Chet Culver, Dem (2.0 - 26.5%)
Kentucky Ernie Fletcher, Rep (0.8 - 7.7%)
Maryland Martin O’Malley, Dem (3.6 - 15.4%)
Mississippi Haley Barbour, Rep (7.4 – 28.6%)
Nevada Jim Gibbons, Rep (1.4 – 10.0%)
New Mexico Bill Richardson, Dem (4.0 – 24.1%)
Tennessee Phil Bredesen, Dem (2.4 – 14.5%)
Texas Rick Parry, Rep (4.5 – 20.8%)
Virginia Tom Kaine, Dem (5.3 – 25.0%)
Washington Christine Gregoire, Dem (3.7 – 24.0%)
Wyoming Dave Freudenthal, Dem (4.1 – 27.7%)

Source, disenfranchisement rates.

See The Sentencing Project for actions and news on giving the vote to all citizens.

Permission to reprint given with attribution of authorship and a link to this article at “Scoop” Independent News.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Latest Allegations Against Helen Clark

According to former PM and UNDP leader current Helen Clark, the allegations leveled at her this week in a Foreign Policy magazine article by the prize-winning UN journalist Colum Lynch have been ‘totally fabricated’. Hmmm. That would be very, very surprising. More>>

Letter From The Editor: The State Of Scoop

Gordon Campbell: The PledgeMe campaign currently being run by the Scoop Foundation does provide a useful opportunity to update you on what gets done with your money. Further down the track, other documents will set out what we plan to do, resources permitting. For now, lets stick with the practical nuts and bolts. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Rise Of The Far Right (And Battle Bots)

In his victory speech at the Cannes film festival this week, the British film director Ken Loach [pictued] warned that the rise of far right parties in Europe was being fuelled by the economic policies of austerity, and manifested in a welfare bureaucracy that systematically denies assistance to those in most need. More>>

Julienne Molineaux: Stuff-Me - The Newspaper Gobble-Up

In New Zealand, concentration of newspaper ownership via mergers and acquisitions has a long pre-digital history. The trends of declining readership and fragmented audiences began before digital content, and mergers and acquisitions proceeded apace, enabled by weak legislative protections. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Foundation Membership Drive:

The Scoop Foundation: The best chance to create an independent guardian for public interest journalism in NZ

The Scoop Foundation is seeking public support to safeguard the future of public interest journalism in New Zealand. To ensure public access to comprehensive, free, timely news is maintained during this dark hour for journalism. And to provide every voice in NZ the opportunity to be heard in the national debate. More>>
PLEDGE NOW: Journalism: A New Model - The 2016 Scoop Foundation Membership Drive

Scoop Foundation Timeline:

Gordon Campbell: On Trump And The Madman Theory

Years ago, Richard Nixon explained to his chief adviser Bob Haldeman what has since become known as the “Madman Theory” of foreign policy. Basically, if America’s rivals could be reminded that Nixon was an unstable, rabid anti-Communist with his finger on the nuclear trigger, Nixon reasoned, then maybe they’d be less willing to challenge the US in the world’s hot spots… More>>

Australia And The South China Sea: Another Foreign Policy Blunder Looming

James O’Neill: The overblown rhetoric from the United States has led at least one commentator to describe so-called ‘analyses’ of the South China Sea situation as “the biggest load of analytical rubbish about South East Asia to emerge since the CIA mistook bee feces for a Soviet-supplied biological weapon in 1981.” More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news