TALLAHASSEE – Florida elections officials have ordered local supervisors to begin purging their voter rolls of felons _ an election-year directive that some say would remove up to 40,000 people, many of them likely black Democrats.
The issue of felon voting surfaced from Florida’s 2000 presidential election recount, a five-week odyssey that resulted in George W. Bush’s capturing the White House.
Bush won Florida’s pivotal 25 electoral votes in 2000 by 537 votes out of more than 6 million cast in the state.
Critics said Florida used out-of-state lists to purge former felons, taking their voting rights away although they had been restored in the state where the crimes had been committed. Florida is among a handful of states that does not automatically restore voting rights of convicted criminals once they leave prison.
Others complained that they were erroneously purged from the rolls because their name was identical or similar to a felon. Critics said blacks were disproportionately affected.
Hey, Florida can’t be seen coddling ex-criminals! (Even if they aren’t criminals.) Here we go again, brothas and Democratic voters.