More than 2,100 Florida voters — many of them black Democrats — could be wrongly barred from voting in November because elections officials included them on a list of felons potentially ineligible to vote, says the Miami Herald. A Florida Division of Elections database lists more than 47,000 people the department said may be ineligible to vote because of felony records. A Herald review shows that at least 2,119 of those names shouldn’t be on the list because their rights to vote were formally restored through the state’s clemency process. Critics say that is a major flaw in a state that turned the 2000 presidential election to Gov. Jeb Bush’s brother George on a 537-vote margin.
Florida — one of just six states that don’t allow felons to vote — has come under intense criticism over its botched attempts to purge felons since the bitterly contested 2000 presidential election, when problems prompted many elections officials to ignore the purge altogether. Officials acknowledge there may be mistakes on the list but insist they have built in safeguards to make sure eligible voters are not removed. Miami-Dade County election chief Constance Kaplan intends to err on the side of voters. “This concerns me,” she said of the Herald’s findings. “That’s why I’m not having my staff jump to start any process until we can make 100 percent sure that it is the correct person.”