With attention focused on Florida’s effort to remove non-citizens from the voter rolls, another procedure continues as well: the purging of convicted felons from the rolls, reports Steve Bousquet. Under Florida law, a convicted felon loses his or her right to vote and must petition the governor and state Cabinet for the restoration of civil rights, a process that can take up to seven years.
A Times/Herald analysis of four months’ worth of data from the state Division of Elections shows that 6,934 people were removed from the rolls in the first four months of 2012 following felony convictions, and that Democrats were three times more likely to be removed than Republicans.
Of that total, 3,550 or 51 percent were registered as Democrats, and 1,206 or 17 percent were registered as Republicans. Another 1,614, or 23 percent, were registered with no party affiliation.
“Obviously, we’re not targeting demographic groups,” said Chris Cate, a spokesman for the Division of Elections. “The only category we’re concerned about is, are they ineligible? If they’re ineligible, they need to be removed.”
Sorry, progressives, but I’m with Rick Scott on this one. Felons should not be on the voter rolls. There’s nothing partisan about removing felons from these lists.
If Democrats don’t want to be purged from the rolls, then they shouldn’t commit felonies. It’s as simple as that.
This whole affair reminds me of the case that made its way to the US Supreme Court about the constitutionality of requiring voters to produce photo identification. The Court ruled that the state has a “valid interest” in improving election procedures as well as deterring fraud.
The majority alluded to — and brushed aside — complaints that the law benefits Republicans and works against Democrats, whose ranks are more likely to include poor people or those in minority groups.
Being poor or in a minority group is no excuse for not having a photo ID, not in this century at least.
What these arguments do is make the Democrats look weak because these positions are almost indefensible. Don’t commit felonies. Carry a photo ID. These are basic rules of life, not just for voting.