Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet formally asked a federal appeals court Monday to delay a judge’s order to revamp the state’s system of restoring voting rights to convicted felons. The four statewide officials say a delay pending an appeal is necessary to avoid “chaos and uncertainty” in two upcoming elections in Florida. The request for a stay was filed by Attorney General Pam Bondi in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta 10 days before the effective date of U.S. District Judge Mark Walker’s order that directs the state to scrap an unconstitutional vote restoration process and replace it by April 26.
In a motion filed with the Atlanta court, Scott and the three Cabinet members, who collectively make up the board of executive clemency, continue to defend the existing 150-year-old vote-restoration system.
“The record does not establish that the board makes clemency decisions arbitrarily or based on improper considerations,” they argued. “Record evidence demonstrates that the board considers relevant factors and follows a careful process in resolving clemency applications.”