Desmond Meade is President of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, a collection of organizations and individuals working to end Florida’s felony disenfranchisement law. Florida’s law is the nation’s harshest and farthest reaching. Currently, over 1.3 million Floridians who have completed their sentences cannot vote because of their prior convictions.
Voter turnout is already low in off-year elections. New laws making it harder for Americans to participate only make the problem worse. Instead, legislators should work to make elections free, fair, and accessible to all eligible citizens.
The relentless onslaught of rule changes, voting barriers, and campaign cash barely slowed after the 2012 presidential election. And yesterday, we got a chance to see some of the latest casualties of the voting war.
Forty-eight years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) into law, codifying the 15th Amendment’s guarantee of the right to vote free from racial discrimination.
Gov. McDonnell recently announced that VA is taking a first step in restoring voting rights to people with criminal convictions in their pasts. According to McDonnell, this will restore the right to vote to over 100,000 people. But we can go further.