DNC Chair and Vice Chair on Judge Striking Down Florida’s Voting Ban

Yesterday a federal judge in Florida ruled that the state’s current process for restoring the voting rights of people with felony criminal records is unconstitutional. In response, DNC Chair Tom Perez and Vice Chair Karen Carter Peterson released the following:

“This ruling is a victory for democracy and a blow to Governor Scott’s repeated attempts to block many Floridians from exercising their constitutional rights. From the beginning, this process was nothing more than a transparent attempt to disenfranchise people of color and rig elections in favor of Republicans,” said DNC Chair Tom Perez. “Governor Scott himself restored the rights of a man only after learning he illegally voted for him. People’s constitutional rights shouldn’t be decided by the cynical, partisan, and calculating whim of Rick Scott and the Republican Party. Thankfully, this year’s ballot initiative provides Floridians with an opportunity to relegate this voter suppression tactic to the dustbin of history once and for all. Democrats believe we should restore voting rights for those who have served their sentences and we will keep fighting Republicans’ unconstitutional efforts to block Americans from participating in our democracy.”

“Yesterday’s decision will prevent partisan lawmakers from making arbitrary decisions to selectively restore the voting rights of citizens who have paid their debt to society. Governor Rick Scott and the Clemency Board have a history of using their own personal biases to determine who is and is not eligible to vote,” said DNC Vice Chair Karen Carter Peterson. “Their decisions have disenfranchised over twenty percent of Florida's African-American voting population. Florida’s restoration of rights process was designed to disenfranchise African American voters and it has done just that. It is time for this process to change. While Florida citizens are taking matters into their own hands with a ballot initiative this November to eliminate the law, I look forward to Judge Walker’s recommendations that will set a precedent for other states that follow similar practices.”