Voting rights have been under attack recently. In several states, officials — almost all of them Republican, alas — have tried to reduce voting hours, close polling stations or erect barriers to voting, like strict ID rules. These measures have disproportionately affected minorities. In fact, that has sometimes been the stated goal. But now a counterattack is underway. Not only are civil-rights advocates fighting the various attempts to restrict voting, they’re also pushing for new laws to expand it. One of those efforts took a step forward this week. Organizers in Florida announced that they had gathered enough signatures to put an initiative on the ballot this November that would restore voting rights to nearly 1.5 million convicted felons. Today, felon disenfranchisement denies the right to vote to one in five black Floridians — and 10 percent of the state’s total voting population.
Daniel Nichanian of the University of Chicago offers another number that underscores the significance of the measure: It would restore the voting rights of more than 15 percent of all disenfranchised ex-felons nationwide.
The initiative already has the support of at least one notable Florida Republican, Carlos Curbelo, a state representative. “Fellow Floridians who have made mistakes and paid their debt to society deserve an opportunity to have a voice in the future of our state and country,” he said in a statement.
Full Article: One Person, One Vote – The New York Times.