House Resolution 1 is seeking to restore voting rights to felons who have completed their sentence, but that portion of the bill may not be as pioneering as it first appears. Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Virginia are among the states that have either altered or considered changes to their laws in recent months, but only Florida garnered nationwide attention.
Florida Implements New Rules, Investigation Finds Felons Lean Democrat
Following the success of a voter initiative in November, Florida is on the cusp of restoring voting rights to what some estimate could be as many as 1.4 million felons.
In a joint investigation, the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald looked at the 20 largest counties in the state which account for 80% of voters. They found that 52% of those who lost their right to vote in the last year were Registered Democrats, and just 14% were Registered Republicans, a significant disparity from the states 37/35 split between registered voters as a whole.
Iowa Considers Reforming Some Of The Harshest Laws In The Country
Iowa is known for having the most restrictive voting policies for felons, and is the only state besides Kentucky to have a lifetime ban irrespective of the crime committed. The state’s governor, a Republican, has even called for an amendment to the State Constitution to restore voting rights.
Democrats Accuse Republicans Of Considering Political Consequences, Republicans Map Out Opposition
While Democrats are accusing Republicans of weighing the political consequences of HR1, Republicans are looking at how they can tack on amendments to an already patch-worked bill in an effort to defeat it. Rather than a critical look at the voting rights of felons or the federal government’s role in monitoring how states administer elections, the stage appears to be set for a battle of soundbites and platitudes from both sides of the aisle.