this post was submitted on 11 Jun 2024
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Crystal Mason was convicted of voter fraud after the 2016 election, when she cast a ballot without realizing she was ineligible to vote.

  • Several Republican-led states have created units to investigate and pursue voter fraud charges. One of those units, in Florida, has filed dozens of cases for people who have prior felony convictions and were confused about their eligibility to vote. In the initial wave of 20 people who were arrested, 14 were Black.

  • People with felony convictions make ripe targets for politicians wanting to send a message about voter fraud. Since the Jim Crow era, states have barred former felons from voting, a practice that kept many African Americans from the polls even after they were constitutionally granted the right to vote.

  • As of 2022, an estimated 4.4 million people – 2% of the adult eligible population – couldn’t vote because of a felony conviction, according to a 2022 analysis by the Sentencing Project (Link opens a pdf), a criminal-justice non-profit. Around 5% of voting-age African Americans can’t vote because of a felony conviction – a rate more than three times higher than other Americans.

  • The vast majority of people who can’t vote because of a felony – about 75% – are not in prison – but they are an easy target for perceived voter fraud. Since they are branded criminals, there’s little public sympathy for their cases; those charged often have little interest in speaking out publicly.

  • Perhaps no state has deployed this strategy [of intimidating voters with a criminal history] more aggressively than Florida. In 2022, the state governor, Ron DeSantis, created the office of election crimes and security, a first-of-its-kind agency to crack down on election fraud, which is exceedingly rare. That summer, DeSantis held a televised press conference announcing the arrests of more than 20 people for illegally voting. The press conference announcing the arrest was a spectacle – DeSantis appeared at in a courtroom, flanked by uniformed law enforcement officers. All of the people charged had prior murder or sexual offenses, which made them permanently ineligible to vote in Florida.

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[–] [email protected] 10 points 1 week ago

Felons should be able to vote, even while in prison. Otherwise you just have to make sure your political opponents are all charged with a felony and skew and keep skewing the results because those people can never vote to potentially make their crime no longer a crime.

Like, if they ever make it a crime to be gay, now they've basically also stopped gays from being able to vote on the issue. That's not good democracy.

[–] [email protected] 4 points 1 week ago

After the Trump verdict, most Republicans say they're OK with having a criminal as president

Last week, Donald Trump was convicted on 34 felony charges in the hush-money case against him. Compared to before the verdict, the biggest changes we found in a post-conviction poll conducted between May 31 and June 2 are in Republicans' positions on felony, crime in general, and the presidency. They have shifted in a way that puts the verdict in a more favorable light and keeps Trump's candidacy viable. For example, fewer Republicans think it should be illegal to pay hush money for the purposes of influencing an election than did a year ago, and more now say felons should be allowed to become president than did a few months ago.