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Atty. Gen. Holder calls for end to felons voting ban

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday called for Florida and other states to repeal laws that revoke voting rights of felons after they are released from prison.

The New York Times reports that Holder, in a speech to a civil rights conference at Georgetown University, claimed that 10 percent of African-American voters in Florida have been permanently stripped of their voting rights in Florida.

"The impact of felony disenfranchisement on modern communities of color remains both disproportionate and unacceptable," Holder said, according to the Times account. Holder was appointed U.S. attorney general by President Barack Obama in 2009.

Florida is one of four states where convicted felons are permanently stripped of their civil rights and must petition the state to have them restored.

Gov. Rick Scott and the three-member Cabinet enacted a policy in 2011 that requires felons to wait for five years in most cases after leaving prison before they can petition the state for restoration of their civil rights -- including the right to vote. The Florida Parole Commission has a backlog of thousands of cases, and it can take a petitioner 10 years or more for a case to work through the bureaucracy. 

Scott's predecessor, Charlie Crist, and the previous Cabinet had streamlined the restoration process and made it easier for felons to regain their rights.


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Mr. Holder - in Florida, the Citizens believe that the restoration process that felons are required to go through is part of their sentence. Additionally, if the issue of voting were important enough, the process is pretty straight forward. The fact is, many just don't care.

Now, if you are suggesting that sentencing guidelines be changed to add time due to the restoration process after a sentence becoming automatic, that is a discussion that should happen at the state level - not based on your opinion or urging.

Tammy Wright

Today's era has changed in many ways that reflect our constitutional rights. It is change that our country needs. Restoring felon rights to become a part of our society is important. My opinion is to allow voting rights to anyone who has their fourth amendment rights restored. After all, they are Americans and their vote should count!

Bill Thompson

The people want to know why there is a backlog of thousands of cases and why it takes 10 years or more to get voting rights restored. This is reminiscent of the Scott administration's delays on paying unemployment compensation.

Ed Jenkins

As we have seen the citizens have no interest in changing laws for the benefit of certain politicians such as this case and believe that punishments for crimes have been laid out in advance so the criminal must face consequences when committing crimes. This particular horrible politician may be trying to look out for himself when he is eventually brought up on the many crimes he has perpetrated so the citizens look even more unfavorably on it in this instance.


I dont have a problem with restoration of civil rights to everyone after their sentence has been served, providing they have provided restitution where demanded by the courts.

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