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Push poll about Charlie Crist and restoration of civil rights

by @amysherman1

A Palm Beach County Democratic voter told Naked Politics about a telephone push poll or survey the voter received in recent days about Charlie Crist's campaign for governor. This isn’t an exact quote, but here’s the gist of it:

Would you be more or less likely to vote for Charlie Crist if you knew he worked to get rapists and murderers the right to vote?

(We don’t have any details about who was behind the question about Crist and whether it was a push poll or a message-testing survey as a precursor to an ad.)

Crist’s initiative to restore ex-convicts’ voting rights is something that his campaign for governor will boast about and opponents may attack.

Murders and sex offenders were not eligible for faster review under the system approved by Crist and the Cabinet in 2007, the Tampa Bay Times wrote at the time.

Crist convinced a reluctant Cabinet to streamline the process to allow tens of thousands of felons to regain their right to vote, sit on a jury and obtain some state licenses. (Crist was a Republican at the time -- now he is a Democrat.)

Non-violent ex-cons could get their rights restored without hearings if they completed their sentences. Violent criminals and sex offenders still had to wait years before they could seek restoration of their rights.

“The largest number of ex-felons affected by the policy during the Crist administration were nonviolent offenders,” Mark Schlakman, an attorney at FSU’s Center for the Advancement of Human Rights who worked for Gov. Lawton Chiles, told Naked Politics. “Many advocates believed there should have been no distinction (between violent and nonviolent offenders). Once one completes the sentence -- a  legislatively mandated sentence -- he or she should be able to re-enter society.”

Crist wrote an op-ed in the Miami Herald in April 2007 explaining his rationale:

“Unfortunately in five states -- Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky and Florida -- we do not restore civil rights to those who have broken the law once they have paid their debt in full..... Some who favor the current system argue that restoring civil rights is somehow ''weak on crime,'' as if restoring the right to vote, to serve on a jury or to work lessens the punishment or encourages a person to commit new crimes. In fact, the opposite should be true. Giving a person a meaningful way to re-enter society, make a living and participate in our democracy will encourage good behavior. Moreover, there is no historical record in states that have restored civil rights to argue that restoration has increased crime.”

Those who supported restoration of rights -- including the ACLU -- criticized Crist for not doing more to make the process easier. Ultimately the changes led to more than 150,000 restorations though a backlogged of 100,000 remained, the Tampa Bay Times reported a couple months after Crist left office.

In February 2011, newly elected Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi argued that the process was too easy for felons. One month later, Bondi and Republican Gov. Rick Scott and the rest of the Cabinet scrapped the process and set a minimum of a five-year waiting period.

Later that year, the Parole Commission released a report that showed only 11 percent of those who had their rights restored in 2009 and 2010 returned to prison.

During the Scott administration, the number of ex-felons who had their rights restored has nose dived: Between 2011 and September 2013 there were 844 ex-felons had their right restored.




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ed jenkins

The scumbag Crist would like his fellow lowlifes to be able to vote for him but it is good that these advertisements are out there to make democrat primary voters such as myself aware of this horrible idea by Crist. No one wants these thugs to be able to vote again since they forfeited that privilege with their attacks on society.

patricia parker

I am a convicted felon and I am a contributing member of society now. I also happen to be a conservative libertarian. I paid for my wrongs--which none were violent. I volunteer at the local county jail as a mentor. My message fosters hope and encouragement to these women. I am also involved in other conservative non profit groups. My life is an example of the ability to turn a life around. All those opposed to restoring my right to vote are not well informed. I am also a U.S. Army (honorable discharge) veteran. I am involved, focused and not going away.

Tally Folly

These laws are racially and politically motivated. When law enforcement locks up disproportionate numbers of minorities for crimes and then prevents them from restoring their rights after they have paid their debt to society, there can be no other reason to prevent them from voting other than they may not vote in favor of your party.
Republican's racist and undemocratic policies are evident in their multiple efforts to disenfranchise minorities' ability to vote.

Single White Female

There are many felonies in the State of Florida that are questionable offences at best. Possession of an ounce of marijuana is a felony. Should anyone convicted of that never be allowed to vote again?
If you do your time you should be allowed to have a voice in society?
More voter suppression from Republicans. That is the real crime here.


At the time, the delay in the restoration and the application process was "part of the sentence" that the criminal had to pay for their crime.

I had no problem with that process. If something is important to someone, it should be important enough to work toward.

ed jenkins

Now we see all of the criminals (although the suspicion is that most of these claims are made up to make an argument) are upset that they have to face consequences which were laid out in advance after committing crimes. As is usually the case these criminals are not sorry for the crimes they committed, just the consequences that come with them and that they were caught. Felony definitions have been laid out in advance so if one is to commit crimes they know which category the crimes will fall under so complaints about possession of illegal narcotics and the category are not valid since the category of offence was known in advance and the criminal still decided to commit the act. There is also no distinction in the law according to appearance so those that argue that laws are unfair to those that look a certain way are only arguing that those that look that way do not have the mental capacity to understand laws which is not a fair thing to say about that particular group.


It's a pity that people like Ed Jenkins are immune for factual and logical arguments.

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