Advocates Work to Get Ex-Cons in Voting Booths

New laws make tens of thousands eligible to vote again
By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2008 1:05 PM CDT
Florida voters' rights advocates are working hard to get newly eligible felons registered to vote.   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Grass-roots activists in states across the country are working to register an unusual bloc of potential voters: former felons. While nearly all states limit the right of convicted criminals to vote, most offer avenues back to the voting booth in varying degrees, the Washington Post reports. In the potential swing state of Florida, for instance, a law change last year has made 115,000 former convicts eligible.

"This is a voting block that has never been open before, and it has opened up at such a time as this," said the Rev. Kenneth Glasgow, the younger brother of Al Sharpton, who is leading a registration push in Alabama. Neither political party has mounted a serious effort to pursue such votes, probably out of fear of being labeled soft on crime, the Post notes.