Feb 13, 2018

Florida Gov. defends voting rights system for ex-felons after judge's ruling

Florida Governor Rick Scott (R). Photo: Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott on Monday defended the process by which Florida grants or denies ex-felons the right to vote, asking a federal judge to leave it up to his cabinet to revise the rules.

Why it matters: This comes more than a week after U.S. District Judge Mark Walker ruled that the process is unconstitutional, finding that it unfairly relies on the personal support of Scott. Under the current system, which gives only the governor power to restore voting rights, former felons have wait for up to 7 years to be considered.

What they're saying: The Scott administration said it would likely appeal the ruling and said it would be "inappropriate" if the court orders them to create a vote restoration system.

The backdrop: Florida voters will decide on a constitutional amendment in November about whether to automatically restore voting rights to some convicted felons. If passed with at least 60% approval, it has the potential to shift the makeup of the country’s largest swing state.

  • Florida is one of four states to constitutionally prohibit ex-felons from voting. The policy affects an estimated 1.5 million convicted felons in a state that bans more people from voting than any other.
  • At the time of his ruling, Walker ordered further briefing from both parties on what they consider the appropriate remedy.

Go deeper: The decades-long fight for Florida's ex-felons to regain voting rights

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll nears 11,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 10,900 in the U.S. early Tuesday, per Johns Hopkins data. More than 1,000 people in the U.S. have died of coronavirus-related conditions each day since April 1.

Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday this week will be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 1,347,803 — Total deaths: 74,807 — Total recoveries: 277,402Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 368,196 — Total deaths: 10,986 — Total recoveries: 19,828Map.
  3. Trump administration latest: President Trump's economic adviser Peter Navarro warned White House colleagues in late January the coronavirus could take over half a million American lives and cost close to $6 trillion, memos obtained by Axios show.
  4. 2020 update: Wisconsin Supreme Court blocks governor's attempt to delay in-person primary voting delayed until June.
  5. States latest: West Coast states send ventilators to New York and other states with more immediate need — Data suggest coronavirus curve may be flattening in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
  6. World update: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved to intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen.
  7. Stocks latest: The S&P 500 closed up 7% on Monday, while the Dow rose more than 1,500 points.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Docs: Navarro memos warning mass death circulated West Wing in January

Image from a memo to President Trump

In late January, President Trump's economic adviser Peter Navarro warned his White House colleagues the novel coronavirus could take more than half a million American lives and cost close to $6 trillion, according to memos obtained by Axios.

  • By late February, Navarro was even more alarmed, and he warned his colleagues, in another memo, that up to two million Americans could die of the virus.

Driving the news: Navarro's grim estimates are set out in two memos — one dated Jan. 29 and addressed to the National Security Council, the other dated Feb. 23 and addressed to the president. The NSC circulated both memos around the White House and multiple agencies.