From today's Tampa Tribune-
TAMPA - Charlie Crist said Friday he favors automatic restoration of voting rights for felons who have completed their sentences, an issue that has been controversial in Florida since the 2000 election.I'd call it election year pandering rather than a conversion. How many votes does Charlie think this will get him in November?
That's a switch for Crist, the Republican candidate for governor. A month ago, he said he favored streamlining the process for restoring voting rights but didn't call for automatic restoration of rights.
Crist said at the time that he favored continuing a system in which the state clemency board reviews requests for restoration of rights.
In a meeting with The Tampa Tribune editorial board Friday, however, Crist said, "I think the time has come in our state that we look for automatic renewal of those rights.
"If you're a fair-minded person and you truly believe in the concept that an individual pays their debt to society, … then if they've paid their debt to society, they've paid it."
Crist said the same reasoning doesn't apply to restoring the right to own firearms. "I think that has to be more thoroughly reviewed, and it would depend on the crime committed."
Crist's Democratic opponent, Jim Davis, has said throughout the campaign that he favors automatic restoration of voting rights for felons who have completed their sentences and probation and paid any court-ordered restitution.
Civil Rights Issue
Crist, who has sought during his campaign to portray himself as a civil rights leader, made his comments during a discussion of compensation for prisoners found to be wrongly convicted and imprisoned.
"I've been very aggressive, working hard in the area of civil rights," he said. "It's a passion for me - not only those who have been wrongly accused and wrongly incarcerated, but those who have now paid their debt to society and are now free, their right to now vote."
Davis campaign spokesman Josh Earnest said Crist is merely undergoing an election-year conversion.
And for those so worried about ex-felons civil rights, how about the civil rights of those who were harmed by these men or women? I'm sure some of these ex felons took the lives of people. How do we restore civil rights to the dead?
I guess the dead can't get back their life, but their killers can get their right to vote returned to them. Tell me if thats justice Mr. Attorney General?
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