One of the few bright spots in Florida’s 2018 election results was the passage of Amendment 4, the ballot initiative to automatically restore voting rights to ex-felons (excluding those convicted of murder or sex crimes) who complete their sentences. Amendment 4 won in a landslide — nearly 65% voted for it. It brought Florida’s draconian eligibility restrictions in line with the sane states.
The current, Republican-authored system effectively disenfranchises a staggering number of African American citizens, something like one in five, IIRC. Many of those Floridians were convicted long ago on bullshit charges based on racist laws that let white kids off for possession of powered cocaine but threw the book at black kids busted with crack.
The current system requires ex-felons to grovel in front of (Republican) governors and (Republican) cabinet officials for a tiny chance of regaining their rights, and they can’t apply for clemency until five years after they complete all of their sentence, including parole, etc.
It’s a terrible system — even a large portion of the drooling yahoos who voted for Trump recognized that. But regardless of the clear will of the people of Florida, the incoming Republican governor and statehouse Republicans are in no hurry to implement the law:
In an interview with the Palm Beach Post’s George Bennett, Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis said that Amendment 4, which was approved by 64.6 percent (or 5.2 million) of Florida voters, shouldn’t go into effect as intended by the people who wrote the ballot measure.
Instead, DeSantis said the amendment, which would restore voting rights for most ex-felons who have served their sentences, should take effect after state lawmakers pass “implementing language” in a bill that is then sent to him for his signature.
That means at least a two-month delay in restoring voting rights. Conveeeeeeniently, that delay could help Republicans in special elections, like the Tampa mayoral race. And I have a feeling the Republicans will find ways to slow-walk it even more or fuck with the language to their advantage given the opportunity. Here’s a sample of the bad-faith “concerns” statehouse Republicans are raising to delay implementation:
“How do you evaluate eligibility?” [Dennis] Baxley [R-Ocala] told the Times/Herald last week. “I still have some questions … What were the terms of their sentence? Do they have to meet probation? Did they complete their debt to society or not?”
Gee, what a mystery…until you look at the language on the ballot, which Baxley presumably had an opportunity to view as he was voting for himself and fellow Republicans:
This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case by case basis.
Any other questions, Baxley, you goddamned nitwit?
Ballot initiatives in Florida are amendments to the state constitution. Initiatives require sponsors to collect more than 750K signatures for the amendment to appear on the ballot, and it must achieve a 60% or higher super-majority to become law. Those are high hurdles, and Amendment 4 cleared them all.
I’m an introvert, and I spent hours accosting strangers on street corners and in parking lots to collect signatures to get Amendment 4 on the ballot, so it pisses me off in a personal way to see these vote-suppressing goobers shit all over the will of the people. This is bullshit.
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Upton Sinclair. Their electoral viability depends on dis-enfranchising anyone who isn’t a Republican voter.
Who in Florida has standing to sue the governor elect?
A Ghost To Most
I have seen older references to similar quotes. I always paraphrase as “salary or social standing”.
Republicans no longer hide their contempt for voters. Power is all they care about. In Missouri, we soundly defeated the right-to-destroy-unions law. Sen. Eric Burlison has re-introduced the bill, claiming voters just don’t understand. Their arrogance is disgusting, blatant and still they win elections.
I would guess any compliant ex-felon who tries to vote and is turned away.
Fellow Floridian here
I am not surprised but am upset as hell
Every state Republican official should be jailed and have their rights taken away, then see how fast THEY sqwak to get their rights back.
Dorothy A. Winsor
Has this been posted already? I’ve been at the library trying to write a short story.
David D’Ag – Remember Sandy Hook (@jackjonesbabe) Tweeted:
Despite massive 2018 midterm victories by a diverse group of progressive democrats, many on the Sanders’ left (like their counterparts on right) want us to believe we can only win by centering wwc voters. That may be true for Bernie, but it is not true for the democratic party.
Uh huh ? ?
Rotten, nogood muthaphuckas ???
But, we knew this.
Will of the people, how quaint.
Still tweaking it, but I’m adding this to all my personal signature blocks:
A well represented Citizenry, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to vote shall not be infringed.
Get a load of what the lame d*ck legislature in Michigan is spitting out. Same for Wisconsin.
They did the same thing in Ohio for the redistricting issue. Now, they just drag, drag, drag their feet. Well, except to pass a 75% cost of living increase for themselves. ?
Is there enough public support to organize a protest in the capital?
@rikyrah: The Washington Post twitter feed linked to a story about the Barden’s written in 2013. It pains me to say this, but republican members of congress care more about the NRA than they do children.
I guess I’m used to Florida jokes, so I’ve been surprised by Amendment 4 and its passage by a large majority. Almost as if there’s some unappreciated Floridian regard for democracy, of all things. Is there some secret Amendment 4 sauce or some leftward Florida trend that’s been hidden under all the scoffing?
Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) Tweeted:
Employees at The Weekly Standard were told to clear their desks by end of the day, but that they would be paid through the end of year.
They will also receive severance…if they sign an NDA.
@JPL: Sadly, true. Because they get paid by the NRA. Hoping this whole Russian spy business will take down the NRA with a whole lot of GOP congress critters.
A girl can dream anyway.
In my initiative state the same “process” is applied: the legislature passes enabling statutes that fill in the details. While I sympathize, it was inevitable that there would be implementation delays. The online registration software, the paper forms, DMV staff training, all of those things have to be changed, and there are no doubt statutory restrictions on those processes.
If the legislature doesn’t move promptly on the matter, though, sue their collective ass.
@rikyrah: So maybe the ‘American Greatness’ political movement is… pining for the fjords? David Brooks must be inconsolable.
When the majority of the largest ethnic group in a country, which is also a majority of people in the country, vote overwhelmingly for you, it is hard to lose.
I don’t what it will take to get white people, especially white men, to stop voting Republican, but unless that changes Republicans always have a locked floor that they will not go below no matter what they do.
Snarki, child of Loki
Those darn Amendment 4 authors, they neglected to put in some critical “implementation details”.
Like summary death sentences for officials that block implementation.
TODAY (@TODAYshow) Tweeted:
Yes, we are absolutely crying after watching @alroker’s wife, @DebRobertsABC, and son bring out a cake for him on his 40th anniversary with NBC! #ALiversary
We have 4 amendments to protect voting rights. We need a 5th, but it needs to be a lot more detailed than any other amendment. I mean, if it needs to be 200 pages long to cover all the possible loopholes, than so be it.
This shit needs to stop.
One thing I will put in is all elections will be run by impartial government officials, whose sole job is to oversee elections. They will be civil service jobs and not appointed by politicians.
@MattF: Somebody cut off the gravy train. I wonder who was keeping The Weekly Standard alive all these years? Did David Koch forget to write a check this year?
@PJ: Possibly. But secrecy is a fundamental feature of the whole Straussian movement, so who knows?
Comrade Colette Collaboratrice
Jesus Christ, people are horrible:
Sandy Hook Elementary School evacuated after bomb threat on 6th anniversary of mass shooting.
If they can trace it, I will bet dollars to donuts it’s some conspiracist dickhead who thinks the whole thing was “crisis actors.”
Sadly, the august group of realtors and lawyers known as the Florida legislature has a history of subverting the will of the Florida voters on amendments. Moving budget money around to avoid implementing environmental regulations or redefining “core classes” to skirt class size limits (both amendments passed in previous elections), their craven obedience to the special interests who really wield the power is nakedly obvious. In other words, what else is new?
@Betty: Good question. I haven’t heard anything about it, but there should be a protest, maybe in early January, when Amendment 4 should become the law of the land.
@cope: True. I’m still pissed off at how they turned the so-called education funds generated by the lottery into a slush fund for their fuckery.
I’ve mentioned before (and I’m not the only one) that time is stretching and constricting so much that it almost makes the whole concept of “time” useless and irrelevant.
Your comment reminded me of just the most recent example. Reading details of Mariia Butina’s guilty plea made me think about the delegation of GOP Senators (and one Texas Congresswoman) that went to Moscow during the campaign. But NO!! That trip wasn’t 2+ years ago, as my brain erroneously believed. It was less than SIX MONTHS AGO, over the Fourth of July holiday of 2018. I was honestly astonished that it was that recent; it feels like years and years ago.
That’s just one of the things this orange goober maladministration has done to my head. ?
Finally a Trump action that I fully support:
Well done Mr. President!
I hope hat revolting shit dies forever.
@Mayken: i’m hoping that they meet Adam Lanza in hell, myself.
I’ll alert my folks that they should call their state legislators in Florida to complain about the slow-walking of the amendment restoring voting rights to ex-felons. Anything else we can do? It’s exhausting and enraging as hell that we continue to have to fight for things we legitimately won.
They’ve seen that suppression is rewarded with votes and they don’t to pay attention to the will of the voters because not enough people who oppose them will turn out to vote. The only solution is overwhelming numbers & vigilance. I don’t know if the level of anger is there over this. I really don’t and I want to be very wrong in 2020 by people showing up, voting them out and generally ruining their lives by never letting them be back in the public sphere ever again.
@PJ: You gotta know any Bill Kristol joint has a long, bloody supply line.
What really gets my goat is how 65 percent of Florida voters KNEW it was the right thing to do passing Amendment Four to let ex-felons regain their power to vote.
But that 65 percent DID NOT REALIZE they needed to vote Democratic – or at least vote for Andrew Gillum – across the board to make sure that Amendment – AND OTHER AMENDMENTS LIKE THE CLEAN WATER ONE FROM 2 YEARS AGO – would get enforced. Our state’s Republican Party will do Jack And Sh-t to uphold what the majority of voters want. THIS IS JUST INFURIATING. HOW BLIND ARE OUR FELLOW FLORIDIANS! /headdesk
@Dorothy A. Winsor: I’m just thrilled to see Louise Mensch horning in on that thread and being her usually helpful (to her own notoriety) self.
Why do people pay her any mind?? Oops I guess I am, but only to shame her.
Mike in NC
Should we offer thoughts and prayers to the demise of The Weekly Standard or offer them the Goldman salute?
@Comrade Colette Collaboratrice:
Jesú. That’s just horrible and sickening.
I didn’t see any discussion of it here, but there were something in excess of 100 bomb threats yesterday to schools and other institutions yesterday, all across the country. At least three public schools in metro Atlanta were on lockdown for a while. I guess they all turned out to be a hoax (although a criminal level of hoax, and I hope the person or people responsible are caught, convicted, and put away for a very long time).
We’re going through such nonstop, crazy levels of nation-changing news right now that a huge multiple threat like yesterday’s makes hardly a blip for most of us. Wasn’t the biggest news story of the day by a long shot.
@ruemara: I would love it if the Miami Herald would do an FOIA for all ballots cast in FL in 2018, as the NY Times did in 2000. I know a newspaper would have to be pretty convinced the vote tally was off to invest in the manpower that would be needed to do a manual recount of all ballots. But it would be a service to democracy for those of us who think that there’s been something hinky about Florida’s electronically tabulated ballots for some time. I imagine the hesitation for calling for a move like this is that it would take attention from the weightier issue of voter suppression.
@Mandalay: Agreed. Trump is doing it because he’s a dick, of course, but anything that punctures the self-importance of the Beltway hacks is a good thing nonetheless. Maybe Trump’s idiot wife will accidentally make it clear that all the stupid expectations around “First Ladies” are bullshit too.
@gene108: I used to feel that way. Two things in counter. First, the very detail tends to be used as exclusion and I feel a general statement makes those less available. Second, the intentional mimicry of the second is an application of mental Jiu-Jitsu.
@SiubhanDuinne: Also heard on the radio this morning there’s another e-mail attempt to extort money by saying there’s a bomb that will used unless they pay up. Way too many sick fucks out right now.
Grew up in Florida, have lived in Wisconsin for the past 5 years. Seems I’ve experienced both a “Floriduh-man”-type environment and the deliberate dissolution of the state that is the birthplace of progressivism.
They’re clinging to every scrap of power they have; they know their time is up. The question is, will people be grudgingly okay with it, or is it pitchforks and guillotines time?
@Betty Cracker: That was classic. They got the rubes to agree to a lottery because the state’s share of all lotto proceeds would go to education “enhancement” in the state budget. Then they changed the definition of enhancements to include general budget items and decreased the education budget by an amount equal to the lotto funds…good times, good times.
The overwhelming approval of Amendment 4 seems to be the earliest and clearest evidence of midterm vote and voter tampering in Florida. Why would so many people vote for that amendment and at the same time vote for shady Republicans on that ballot? It’s almost like whoever was in charge of ballot tinkering focused on the governor and senate races and didn’t consider what the results of anything else on the ballot would be.
Nah. Big chunk of those felons that would have those rights restored are rural working class whites who often run afoul of drug and alcohol laws. So there is some personal incentive despite other conservative expectations.
@gene108: The head of a republican is thick as a brick. Former governor Greitens resigns in disgrace; Sen-elect Hawley is under investigation already. The whole republican party is obviously criminal. The party of lawn odor. Their voters just don’t learn. The hell with appeasing them. Unless they do a Cole type transformation, we don’t need them or want them.
This has been a thing in the West, where almost all states have initiatives, for the last 20 years. My assessment is that certain individual policies can be passed — redistricting, minimum wage, marijuana. But too many people are unwilling to vote for the entire package of policies we Democrats advocate for — raising taxes to pay the bills, gun control, climate change action, etc. Last month Nebraska and Idaho voters passed initiatives to take the Medicaid expansion despite the legislatures remaining deep red. It’s a slow slog — always has been, will continue to be for a long time.
@Michael Cain: They want republicans who’ll govern like democrats. They’re always fooled. always.
It’s well-known that voters overwhelmingly favor Democratic policy preferences, at least until they’re told “those are the Democrats’ positions.”
Someplace in the past year, I saw a remark to the effect that the majority of Republican voters are not Republicans in the sense of understanding Republican policy preferences and wanting to vote in favor of those: they just have the conviction that horrible things happen when Democrats are in power (I guess not surprising, given what they hear on Faux News, and what Rush & Friends tell them, and what the Russian bots are feeding them on Assbook) and want to prevent it.
@Betty Cracker: remember how they kneecapped the medpot law?
That’s what they’re planning here.