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NAACP wants ‘tone deaf’ Scott to end ‘posturing’ on voting rights

Group opposes state's appeal of decision that struck down felons' vote-restoration process
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Published Apr. 17, 2018
Updated Apr. 17, 2018

The Florida state conference of the NAACP wants Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet to drop their appeal of a court decision that struck down the 150-year old system for restoring voting rights to convicted felons.

The four Republican state officials filed a motion Monday with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, asking for that court to put on hold the March 27 order by U.S. District Judge Mark Walker until the state's appeal runs its course.

"The appeal shows the Governor and Florida Cabinet are tone deaf," NAACP President Adora Obi Mweze said in a statement. "The continued posturing by our state officials shows the importance of Floridians supporting Amendment 4 this fall."

Amendment 4 asks voters to amend the state Constitution to automatically restore the right to vote to ex-felons, other than those convicted of murder or sex crimes. The proposal needs 60 percent support from voters to become law.

Scott, a Republican U.S. Senate candidate, does not support the amendment.

The only Cabinet member who was spared the NAACP's criticism was Adam Putnam, the state agriculture commissioner and candidate for governor, who supports an easier restoration process.

Putnam called for a "faster, easier" system of restoration for non-violent felons at a recent forum in Sarasota.

"The NAACP supports automatic restoration of rights and ending racial disparities at all levels of the criminal justice system," the group said.