In 2018, the state of Florida passed a law that reinstates the voting rights of felons, but Republicans countered by passing a bill along party lines that required felons to first pay fines and fees related to their sentences before they can be eligible to vote. But according to Mark Joseph Stern writing for Slate, that strategy looks like it may be backfiring.
"A Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald analysis found that 52 percent of Floridians who lost their voting rights because of a felony conviction were Democrats," Stern writes. "A third were independents, while just 14 percent were Republicans. In recent years, black voters were five times more likely to lose their voting rights than white voters; Democrats were three times more likely to lose their voting rights than Republicans. Overall, the majority of former felons in the state are white."
Given these odds, Stern contends that GOP-controlled counties "will undoubtedly suppress the votes of some Democratic ex-felons within their borders. But they may well depress their own turnout numbers in a tight election year while their neighbors gain voting power."
While that may be true, Esquire's Charles P. Pierce worries that a "nearly limitless vista of nuisance lawsuits aimed at the Democratic counties that have restored the franchise to ex-felons" is a distinct possibility, making Florida a chaotic presence in the coming election season.
Read more at Slate.com.