ACLU Disappointed by Supreme Court’s Decision Not to Review Florida’s System of Lifetime Felon Disenfranchisement

Affiliate: ACLU of Florida
November 14, 2005 12:00 am

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MIAMI — The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida today expressed disappointment over the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to review a state law that bars citizens with felony convictions from voting, even after they have completed their term of prison, probation and parole.

ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard L. Simon issued the following statement in response to the Court’s decision:

“We are bitterly disappointed by today’s decision of the U.S. Supreme Court not to hear the challenge to Florida’s system of lifetime felon disenfranchisement.”

“It leaves in place – for now – a system that has brought about the most severe crises in civil and voting rights in our state. The system of felon disenfranchisement is a system that has created over 600,000 Florida ghost citizens – citizens who work and pay their taxes in Florida, but who are ineligible to vote.”

“Florida is only one of three states to deprive former felons of the right to vote for the rest of their lives.”

“We are also bitterly disappointed that the Court refused to review the legality of a system that is part of Florida’s discredited history as part of the confederacy.”

“The issue isn’t over – we now turn to the Legislature to address the need to bring the Florida Constitution into the 21st Century and protect the most fundamental right any citizen of a democracy has – the right to vote. The focus now shifts from the courts to the Florida Legislature and who will be the next governor.”

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