So, on election day, the voters of Florida overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure restoring the franchise to 1.2 million citizens convicted of various felonies. However, and if you can’t see where this is going by now, you are new to the shebeen and please sign our guestbook.
From the Tampa Bay Times
When it becomes Florida law in five weeks, an estimated 1.2 million felons will be eligible to rejoin the voter rolls. But at a statewide elections conference Tuesday, it was obvious that confusion and uncertainty still hovers over implementation of Amendment 4. The state announced that it has stopped transmitting documents counties use to remove convicted felons from the rolls. One official said the issue requires more research on how to carry out the will of the people.
“The state is putting a pause button on our felon identification files,” Division of Elections director Maria Matthews told election supervisors from most of the state’s 67 counties at a mid-winter meeting. “We need this time to research it, to be sure we are providing the appropriate guidance.” Matthews said the will of the people is clear: A person who completes their sentence should be able to register to vote, “and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Well, yeah, except for, you know, Republicans.
Speaking to reporters, Matthews’ boss, Secretary of State Ken Detzner, who reports to Gov. Rick Scott, said lawmakers should be consulted. “We need to get some direction from them as far as implementation and definitions — all the kind of things that the supervisors were asking,” Detzner said. “It would be inappropriate for us to charge off without direction from them.”
What “direction” does there need to be from the Florida legislature? The law passed. It’s time to implement it. It’s Detzner’s duty to see that it is. The legislature doesn’t enter into this at all, except that Republicans own the majority there, and, as we’ve seen all over the map in recent days, they simply do not approve of elections that turn out differently than they’d hoped.
Counties were not happy. “They wouldn’t give any direction to us, and they didn’t provide a timeline,” said Polk County elections chief Lori Edwards. “It’s typical,” said Manatee County Supervisor Mike Bennett of the state’s response, and predicted: “It’s going to hit the fan.”