“The state of Florida routinely violates the constitutional rights of its own citizens by permanently revoking the right to vote for anyone convicted of a felony, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Mark Walker said Florida’s system unfairly relies on the personal support of the governor for citizens to regain “this fundamental right.”
In a strongly-worded ruling, he called the state’s defense of voter disenfranchisement “nonsensical” — a withering criticism aimed at Gov. Rick Scott, the lead defendant in the case.
“Florida strips the right to vote from every man and woman who commits a felony,” Walker wrote. “To vote again, disenfranchised citizens must kowtow before a panel of high-level government officials over which Florida’s governor has absolute veto authority. No standards guide the panel. Its members alone must be satisfied that these citizens deserve restoration … The question now is whether such a system passes constitutional muster. It does not.”‘