Thursday, December 20, 2018

They Say Elections Have Consequences ...

... and in Florida, one of those consequences is that, as of January 8, convicted felons (excluding those convicted of murder or felony sex crimes) who have completed their sentences are eligible to 1) register to vote and 2) vote.

That's because last month, Florida voters approved (with nearly 65% of the vote) a constitutional amendment (Amendment 4) with said effect.

But Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner and governor-elect Ron DeSantis don't like how that vote came out*, so now Detzner says the legislature needs to provide "guidance" to election officials and DeSantis says the law shouldn't take effect until the legislature passes "implementing language."

That's bullshit. There's nothing unclear about the law and any delay in implementing it, or legislative attempt to alter its effect, is a crime under federal law.

Per Section 11(a) of The Voting Rights Act of 1965, "No person acting under color of law shall fail or refuse to permit any person to vote who is entitled to vote under any provision of this Act or is otherwise qualified to vote ..."

Section 14(c)(1) specifies that "The terms 'vote' or 'voting' shall include all action necessary to make a vote effective in any primary, special, or general election, including, but not limited to, registration ..."

And Section 12(a) specifies that "Whoever ... shall violate section 11(a) or (b), shall be fined not more
than $5,000, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both."

Any election official who fails, on or after January 8, to process the registration of someone made eligible to vote under Amendment 4 -- including the Secretary of State and the new governor, if either of them or both of them order election officials to so act -- should face the maximum penalty prescribed above.

* They don't like how the election came out because they're Republicans who expect the bulk of newly eligible voters to vote (if they vote at all) for Democrats.

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