In Florida, the Republican controlled state legislature wants to overhaul election laws in ways critics say would disenfranchise voters and extend the dominance of the GOP in the state.
This latest onslaught to disenfranchise voters comes after Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott rescinded the rules allowing for automatic restoration of voting rights of tens of thousands of convicted nonviolent felons in the state, a move that critics say smacks of a return to Jim Crow-era laws in the Sunshine State since felons tend to be disproportionately members of minority groups.
Under the new rules established in March, Florida felons will have to wait a minimum of five years after they’ve served their sentences to apply for the right to vote. More serious offenders would have to wait seven years. Florida now joins Kentucky, Virginia and Iowa as the only states that deny felons automatic restoration of their rights to vote in elections after having served their sentences.
But now the state legislature is pushing a bill to cut early voting time by half, to make it harder for grass roots groups to register voters and to require people to vote provisionally if they moved since the last time they voted — a change elections supervisors say would affect the young and the poor the most. Both groups are traditionally Democratic voters. Republicans argue that move is needed to save money.