An editorial in The New York Times spotlights Florida’s antiquated system of stripping the civil rights, including the right to vote, from all convicted felons in the state. Citing an estimated 1.5 million “missing voters” in the nation’s third largest state, the Times calls the policy “destructive and pointless” and bad for democracy.
The editorial cites previous reporting by the Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau on Florida’s system, which Gov. Rick Scott and three elected Cabinet members implemented in 2011.
That reversed a previous system adopted by former Gov. Charlie Crist that streamlined the restoration process.
A statewide petition drive is underway to change Florida’s Constitution so that most felons would automatically regain the right to vote after completing their sentences. The change would not apply to people convicted of murder or sex-related crimes.
Voters must approve the change. Supporters face a deadline of Feb. 1 to get about 766,000 valid voters’ signatures on petitions to make the November ballot.