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

 

Binoy Kampmark: Dysfunctional Hagiography: Australia & Gough Whitlam's Death

Hagiography is the curse of the Australian Labor movement. It is a movement that searches for, and craves, mythical figures and myths. Such a phenomenon might be termed mummification, and detracts from closer examination. More>>

David Swanson: On Killing Trayvons

This Wednesday is a day of action that some are calling a national day of action against police brutality, with others adding 'and mass incarceration,' and I'd like to add 'and war' and make it global rather than national. More>>

Uri Avnery: Israel Ignoring “Tectonic Change” In Public Opinion

If the British parliament had adopted a resolution in favour of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the reaction of our media would have been like this: More>>

ALSO:

| UK MPs blow a “raspberry” at Netanyahu and his serfs

Byron Clark: Fiji Election: Crooks In Suits

On September 17 Fiji held its first election since Voreqe “Frank” Bainimarama seized power in a 2006 coup. With his Fiji First party receiving 59.2% of the vote, Bainimarama will remain in power. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: ‘Islamic State’ Sectarianism Is Not Coincidental

Consider this comical scene described by Peter Van Buren, a former US diplomat, who was deployed to Iraq on a 12-month assignment in 2009-10: Van Buren led two Department of State teams assigned with the abstract mission of the ‘reconstruction’ of ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Case For Using Air Power Against The Islamic State

There is an Alice Through the Looking Glass quality to the current response to the Islamic State. Everything about it seems inside out. Many people who would normally oppose US air strikes in other countries have reluctantly endorsed the bombing of IS positions in Iraq and Syria – not because they think air power alone will defeat IS (clearly it won’t) but because it will slow it down, and impede its ability to function. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Troubled Aftermath Of Scotland’s Independence Vote

A week can be a very long time in Scotland’s 300 year struggle for independence. The “No” vote last week that seemed to end the cause of Scottish independence for a generation, has turned out to have had an enormous fish hook attached, especially for the British Labour Party… More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The West’s Existential Crisis About What To Do With Putin, And The Islamic State

Say one thing for Russian President Vladimir Putin. At least he’s given NATO a purpose in life. Right now, that consists of being something that Barack Obama and David Cameron can hide behind, point at Putin, and say : “Go get him, tiger.” Just what NATO is supposed to do about Putin’s armed advance into eastern Ukraine is less than clear. But there is a lot of “steely determination” around in high places. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news