Former felons may miss another vote


Geraldine Sealey
July 21, 2004 8:35PM (UTC)

More disheartening news out of Florida, a court ruling that could prevent ex-felons, disproportionately black, from voting in the presidential election ... again:

"A federal appeals court on Tuesday delayed indefinitely a long-awaited Miami trial to decide whether more than 600,000 former felons in Florida could have their voting rights automatically restored. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta agreed to reconsider an earlier appellate panel's order to hold the trial on Florida's 136-year-old law that bars felons from voting.

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The ruling disappointed advocates for ex-felons who say the law is racially discriminatory because blacks comprise a disproportionate number of the former convicts.

The decision marked another turning point in the class-action case, which was filed weeks before Florida's divisive 2000 presidential election ended with George W. Bush winning the state -- and the White House -- by only 537 votes over Al Gore.

The ruling also means many ex-felons, who could make the difference in a tight race, will miss out on a chance to vote in another presidential election."


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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