By: Whitney Ray
More than thirty-thousand felons who haven’t had their civil rights restored are registered to vote in Florida. The state says it doesn’t have enough time or manpower to investigate every case before Election Day. This means that several thousand ineligible voters will probably have their votes counted.
The confusion may have been caused by a 2007 state cabinet decision to grant automatically civil rights restoration to some non-violent offenders.
The Secretary of State’s office hasn’t been able to do background checks on all the questionable voters and with time running out some will slip through the cracks.
“We want to air on the side of the voter. We want to make sure people who are eligible are protected and we’re going to examine those case files very thoroughly to make sure they’re felons before we advise a supervisor to remove them,” said Secretary of State Spokeswoman Jennifer Davis.
Supervisors of Elections say if ineligible people vote the results could be challenged.
“It lays ground work for further legal challenges and that’s something none of us want to see in the elections process,” said Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho.
Human Rights activist Mark Schlakman said it’s time Florida stopped banning people from the polls.
“There are 1,000’s of ex felons who are conceiving residing in Florida who have completed their sentences and are barred from voting. That’s unconscionable,” said Schlakman.
Everyone who registers to vote in Florida signs a statement swearing they are qualified to vote. People who lie on the form could be charged with a felony.