No other single vote in 2018 has the potential to remake the 2020 Electoral College as much as the felon voting rights restoration amendment. The numbers speak for themselves and I will get into them in a second.
The poll numbers are from the University of Northern Florida. In Florida, ballot referendums must get 60% to pass. My guess is we will see very well funded independent groups running ads aimed at Republicans.
Cross Tabs, UNF 1/29 — 2/4
The stakes in a state where elections are as close as they are in Florida are enormous: a good review of the depressing history is here. In 1888 African American turnout in Florida was 62%. Four years later after the felon law was enacted and literacy tests were required that turnout fell to 7%. The law was actually re-enacted in the 60’s
to remove the “taint” of Jim Crow, as if such a thing was remotely possible.
There is, of course, a process to restore felon’s rights. A Federal Court found it was unconstitutional. I am a former prosecutor, the opinion includes language not often found in decisions. It notes:
“Florida’s vote-restoration scheme is crushingly restrictive. The scheme crumbles under strict scrutiny because it risks—if not covertly authorizes the practice of—arbitrary and discriminatory vote-restoration.”
What all of this is about is, of course, voters. Florida elections are almost close. The raw numbers tell the story. If this amendment passes, the number of new voters more than exceeds the margin in the last two Florida governor’s elections and Trump’s margin in 2016.
|Florida Voting Age Population, 2016
|Total disenfranchised by felon law (10.43%)
|Florida Voting Age AA Population
AA disenfranchised by felon law
(23% — highest in the country)
|African American turnout, 2016
|New Voters as result of Amendment
|Clinton Florida Net Margin, 2016 Exit Poll
|Estimated Democratic Gain
|Trump margin, 2016
|Rick Scott margin, 2014 Governor’s race
|Obama margin, 2012
|Rick Scott margin, 2010 Governor’s race