FLORIDA: Court Strikes Down System For Restoring Voting Rights To Felons, Says Gov Has Unfair Influence

The Tampa Bay Times reports:

The state of Florida routinely violates the constitutional rights of its citizens by permanently revoking the right to vote for anyone convicted of a felony, a federal judge ruled Thursday. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker said Florida’s system unfairly relies on the personal support of the governor for citizens to regain “this fundamental right.” In a strongly-worded ruling, he said the state’s defense of voter disenfranchisement was “nonsensical.”

“Florida strips the right to vote from every man and woman who commits a felony,” Walker wrote. “To vote again, disenfranchised citizens must kowtow before a panel of high-level government officials over which Florida’s governor has absolute veto authority. No standards guide the panel. Its members alone must be satisfied that these citizens deserve restoration … The question now is whether such a system passes constitutional muster. It does not.”