Felon voting rights have a bigger impact on elections than voter ID laws

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Although Democrats are decrying voter identification laws, Harry J Enten of The Guardian says they actually should turn their attentions to felon voting rights. Even by international standards, the rules of felon and ex-felon voting restrictions are “quite unusual.”

Of 45 countries studied by ProCon.org, 21 countries have few (or no) restrictions on felon voting. Another 15 have limited restrictions.

Compare that to the U.S., where most states — including Florida — do not allow it.  Thirteen states permit limited voting rights, and Maine and Vermont allow ex-felons to vote.

These restrictions overwhelmingly affect minorities, and states that enable felons to cast ballots are overwhelmingly white. The reason there isn’t more of an uproar is “felon disenfranchisement” is not a competitive factor. The numbers aren’t there to be much of a difference.

In Florida, however, the influence of felon disenfranchisement can have a definite impact on elections, especially since the majority of those voters would vote Democrat. The percentage of black felon and ex-felon voters approaches 20 percent, a group that could swing an election in the state.

For example, President Obama would have had an extra 2.6 points to his success in Florida, and Al Gore would have won the state handily in 2000.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.