Let Florida Felons Vote

February 14, 2005

New York Times
March 27, 2005

Let Florida Felons Vote
By Deborah Goldberg

To the Editor:

Re: “Why Felons Deserve the Right to Vote” (editorial, Feb. 7)

Many law enforcement professionals, in addition to the American Correctional Association, recognize that felony disenfranchisement serves no penal purpose when people have served their sentences.

A former general counsel of the F.B.I. and a former solicitor general of the United States, among others, have made just that point in a class action challenging Florida’s law on behalf of 600,000 people with felony convictions who cannot vote Johnson v. Bush

Other public officials who care about democracy agree. Recently, two Republican state senators in Florida have called upon Gov. Jeb Bush to end the state’s permanent voting ban. Someday soon, we hope, the fundamental right to vote will become a reality in this country and not just an ideal by which we judge the government of Iraq.

Deborah Goldberg
New York, Feb. 7, 2005

The writer is director of the democracy program, Brennan Center for Justice, N.Y.U. School of Law. The center was lead counsel in Johnson v. Bush.