Jan 23, 2018

Ex-felons in Florida could have voting rights restored

Voters calling their ballots at the Miami-Dade Government Center in Florida. Photo: G. De Cardenas/Getty Images

Florida voters will decide in November whether to restore the right to vote to an estimated 1.5 million convicted felons who are currently prohibited from voting, organizers behind the ballot measure said on Tuesday.

Why it matters: If passed (with at least 60% approval) it has the potential to dramatically shift the makeup of the country’s largest swing state, which plays a deciding role in presidential elections.

Democrats could benefit because the prohibition disproportionately affects African-Americans, a group that overwhelmingly votes Democratic. And in Florida more than one in five African-Americans are affected, according to Sentencing Project.

How it happened: Voting rights activists gathered more than the required 766,200 valid signatures to get the proposal, according to the state’s elections website, which will appear as "Amendment 4" on the ballot. Under the proposal, the voting rights of people convicted of murder or sex crimes would not be restored.

Florida is one of only four states whose constitutions prohibit ex-felons from voting, along with Iowa, Kentucky, and Virginia. Virginia's immediate past Gov. Terry McAuliffe has restored voting rights to 168,000 ex-felons on a case-by-case basis, per the Washington Post.

Go deeper

Trump announces 30-day extension of coronavirus guidelines

President Trump announced on Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30 in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, which has now infected more than 130,000 Americans and killed nearly 2,500.

Why it matters: Top advisers to the president have been seeking to steer him away from Easter as an arbitrary deadline for the U.S. to open parts of its economy, amid warnings from health officials that loosening restrictions could cause the number of coronavirus cases to skyrocket.

Go deeperArrow28 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 716,101 — Total deaths: 33,854 — Total recoveries: 148,900.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 136,880 — Total deaths: 2,409 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Trump touts press briefing "ratings" as U.S. coronavirus case surge

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump sent about a half-dozen tweets on Sunday touting the high television ratings that his coronavirus press briefings have received, selectively citing a New York Times article that compared them to "The Bachelor" and "Monday Night Football."

Why it matters: The president has been holding daily press briefings in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, but news outlets have struggled with how to cover them live — as Trump has repeatedly been found to spread misinformation and contradict public health officials.