FRANCHISE FOR FREED FLORIDA FELONS?
Chris Bertram has some interesting state-by-state data on disenfranchised felons. Florida easily leads the list, with Alabama and–surprisingly–Virginia in the next two slots. Three states apparently let convicted felons vote.
This is actually an interesting issue. Is there a justification for denying the right to vote to those who have served their criminal sentences? And, given that these people are mostly adult taxpayers, doesn’t this amount to taxation without representation–something about which we were once rather adamantly opposed?
Incidentally, I think the race issue here is a red herring (um, a fish whose species and color are neither here nor there). It’s true that convicted felons disproportionately come from minority groups; it doesn’t follow that this motivated the laws that deny the franchise to convicted felons. And the fact that most of the states that lead the list come from the former Confederacy is hardly surprising; they’re a lot more Old Testament in their approach to law and order.