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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Florida's Governor Crist Pushes for Voting Rights

by Jay Allbritton
I admit, I just can't bring myself to trusting Florida's Republican Governor Charlie Crist. Everything I read about Charlie so far has been incredibly positive. He's actually working hard to democratize Florida in the wake of Jeb Bush's tenure.

From Scoop (via Crooks and Liars):
This is one of the most revolutionary and far reaching proposals made by a governor in years. The removal of voting rights for ex-felons, those who have served their time and returned to society, is a direct descendent of the 1890 Mississippi Constitution. This document proudly listed a variety of ways Post Reconstruction whites would remove all political power form black citizens.

Crist announced that this campaign promise was a top reform priority. The St. Petersburg Times quoted him as saying, “I am going to keep pushing to get us where I think we need to be." To accomplish this by edict under Florida law, Crist needs the consent of two or three cabinet members. In order to gain support, the Times reported that there would be exclusions for those convicted of murder, rape, or major drug trafficking.

I have a theory about this. It's cynical and frankly, Crist has exceeded my low expectations by so much that I feel bad questioning his motives. Still, I'm a bit paranoid when i see a Republican acting like a public servant. I think it's very likely that Crist has deliberately staked out a bi-partisan position so the state won't be as poisoned by President Bush's low approval rating in the 2008 election.

Of course the strategy would work a lot better if Crist were on the ballot in 2008.

Adam C. Smith of the St. Pete Times has an editorial on Crist, who some are calling the best Democratic Governor Florida has ever had.


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