Talk Left post here.
Americans who are convicted of crimes do not lose their citizenship, are not relieved of their obligation to pay taxes, and should be just as entitled to participate in the democratic process as everyone else. In Florida, however, even after felons are released from prison and from supervision, even after they've paid their fines and made restitution, there are still barriers to voting. Those barriers stem from an ugly history of disenfranchising black voters. . . .The issue of voting rights here has long been intertwined with race. The ban on voting by felons became part of the state Constitution in 1868, when many Southern states found ways to suppress black votes in the wake of the Civil War.
Florida's Gov. Charlie Crist has advocated a measure of reform that, since April, has reinstated voting rights for 115,232 ex-offenders. But 80 percent of them remain disenfranchised. . . .
Gov. Crist bases his call for reform upon his belief in the value of redemption. . . .
It is the voting system in Florida that needs redemption, in the form of additional change. Civil rights are restored automatically in most states after completion of a sentence. Florida needs to follow that example if it wants to move past the vestige of post-Civil War vote suppression.