The Fight For Voting in Florida Isn’t Over | Brennan Center for Justice
One study found around 35 percent of disenfranchised ex-felons would have voted in presidential elections and 24 percent in Senate elections in non-presidential years. Another looked at Iowa, Maine, and Rhode Island, and found that fewer than 15 percent of recently enfranchised ex-felons voted in those states. That’s well below the national turnout rate of 58.6 percent in 2016.
Part of the issue is that people who have been recently re-enfranchised need to know about it. Back in 2008 when Charlie Crist was Florida’s governor he re-enfranchised about 112,000 people. But then only 9,000 of those eligible to vote actually registered to vote because many did not realize that their status had changed. When Alabama last year changed its law to re-enfranchise some ex-offenders, the state refused to spend money on a public education campaign or a notification system. It’s important that Florida does much better.
So make no mistake: This is a sweet victory for supporters of Amendment 4. More people than live in the entire state of Wyoming, or for that matter, the entire population of Hawaii, New Hampshire, Maine, Montana, Rhode Island, Delaware, North Dakota, Alaska, the District of Columbia, or Vermont were just re-enfranchised. It’s a huge win for democracy and a “no thank you” to Jim Crow, where the ban had its roots. But the work of integrating newly enfranchised Florida citizens is just beginning.