The left is looking to score a major coup by working to turn Florida into a reliably Democrat state and gain a stranglehold on the electoral process but it’s how that they are doing it that is the most alarming.
While the party continues to shift away from straight white males and the white working class, the Dems are counting on being able to win elections solely on identity politics and fanning the flames of racial resentment for gains at the ballot box.
With the wind in their sails after successfully mobilizing a huge percentage of the African-American vote to shock the Republicans in the Alabama special election for the U.S. Senate, their eyes are on what they believe will be the ultimate prize: Florida.
Liberal organizations are in the process of working to get voting rights restored to felons in the Sunshine State knowing full well that they will be inclined to vote Democrat.
Front groups worked hard in Alabama to get as many felons to vote and it contributed to the shock victory of Doug Jones over local legend Roy Moore and they are hoping that they can obtain enough signatures to get it on the ballot for 2018 in Florida.
Florida may restore voting rights to 1.7 million ex-felons: So long, Republicans! https://t.co/Oy44BL0G82
— Salon (@Salon) January 1, 2018
Of the states that swung to Donald Trump in 2016 after voting for Barack Obama in 2012, Florida, with its 29 votes in the Electoral College, was by far the biggest. It’s also one of the most prominent examples of how voter suppression efforts are distorting the political system, usually to benefit Republicans who would struggle to win in a more representative democracy. Florida’s law bans anyone convicted of a felony from voting, for the rest of their lives. This means that nearly 1.7 million Floridians — more than one in 10 voting-age adults — are permanently barred from the polls.
Hillary Clinton lost the Sunshine State by fewer than 120,000 votes, strongly suggesting that more inclusive voting rights law could — and probably would — have swung Florida in the other direction.
Now a group of grassroots activists with Floridians for a Fair Democracy and the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition is working to change the law. Activists have been circulating a statewide petition to create a ballot initiative in November 2018 that would restore the rights of those convicted of a felony to vote after they have completed their sentence. The campaign is on track for success, at least in getting the initiative on the ballot. With one month to go until the deadline, nearly 85 percent of the ballots necessary to succeed have been signed by Florida voters.
“These individuals have all done their time, they’ve paid their debt, and it’s the right thing to do,” Jen Tolentino of Rock the Vote, which has been supporting the grassroots activists in Florida, told Salon. “Once somebody has served their time, they should have the ability to actually be reintroduced to our community and participate in a meaningful way.”
“If you have a car note or a mortgage payment, once you pay that last payment, you don’t expect to keep getting a bill in the mail,” said Desmond Meade, who is leading the statewide campaign to re-enfranchise ex-felons. “These folks paid their debt years and years ago, yet they’re still being made to pay on the debt that they’ve already paid in full.”
Florida currently is one of the most difficult states for felons to get their voting rights restored in and Republican Governor Rick Scott has not been friendly to such partisan efforts to swing Florida into the win column for Democrats.