Flon Disenfranchisement

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The American Civil Liberties Union describes the laws surrounding felon disenfranchisement “patchwork laws.” Felon voting laws have been established at the state level, meaning that there are a wide array of policies in place to address the issue. Vermont and Maine are the only two states where everyone has the right to vote regardless of their criminal history. Florida, Iowa, and Kentucky meanwhile are the only 3 states that permanently strip felons of their voting rights. The other 45 states have more nuanced laws, that allow felons to vote after completing certain parts of their sentencing. In all, it is estimated that these laws prevent 5.85 million Americans from voting annually (ACLU). The lack of a consensus among states on felon voting …show more content…

It is in the interest of both parties to reduce the number of felons. Additionally, both the citizens and the government want to have a larger voting public. Mediation allows both parties to pursue these goals with policy reform that they see as effective, and then reach a compromise to benefit everybody in the state, regardless of their criminal status. In any mediation, there need to be parties that are brought to the negotiating table. In this instance the parties would be a bipartisan committee of Florida legislators and a group of 20 felons represented by the ACLU. It is important to keep the groups small for mediation because smaller groups are more likely to be successful in mediation talks (Klerman and Klerman 692). While reducing the number of people at the table inevitably reduces the amount of voices that can be represented, the committees will still be large enough as to not marginalize significant voices. Each mediation must also have somebody controlling the discussion. In this instance, legislators in Florida will pass a bill allocating $200,000 to pay for professional mediators from the United States Department of Justice directing the discussion. A professional mediator can analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each case before setting expectations for the results (Klerman and Klerman 691). It is important that …show more content…

Recidivism costs the state of Florida more than $150 million annually (Florida Department of Corrections). A strong financial incentive is not the only thing bringing Florida legislators to the table however; electoral calculations also are a draw for the legislators. Reducing the amount of felons in Florida through education programs and through an improved rehabilitation system while cutting state prison spending is a platform that appeals to Democrats and Republicans alike. Legislators campaigning for re-election will be able to tout effective criminal justice reform as one of their accomplishments over their past term. When a task force studied recidivism for the state of Florida in 2004, it concluded that “the loss of civil rights upon conviction of a felony” (Miller and Spillane 405) was an element of Florida’s criminal justice system that needed to be reformed. Allowing felons the right to vote is common ground that is shared by felons and government officials alike, which means that the legislators are unlikely to come away from the mediation table without some agreement to show their

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