Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

For Immediate Release

Press Release

ACLU of Florida Statement on Release of The Sentencing Project’s Report on the Impact of Felon Disfranchisement Laws

National research organization updates view of discriminatory laws rooted in racist voter suppression schemes

Washington D.C.-based research organization The Sentencing Project today published a report, 6 Million Lost Voters, on the impact of laws banning people with past felony convictions from voting. Responding to the publication of the report, ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon stated:

"Today’s release of the study by The Sentencing Project demonstrates once again that the impact of disfranchisement laws is greatest in Florida.

"Florida’s lifetime voting ban, mandated in our state’s constitution, is the nation’s largest voter suppression scheme, barring approximately 1.6 million people from the polls – almost 10% of the voting-age population in our state.

"Florida’s ban is rooted in racist voter suppression schemes of the period immediately following the Civil War. The framers of Florida’s post-Civil War 1868 Constitution weren’t subtle or vague about their intent:  they created the Black Codes and unleashed selective enforcement of laws to ensure that the newly freed slaves would never exercise the right to vote and possess political power. 

"These provisions not only remain in effect today, they are disgracefully defended by current political leaders. 

"Gov. Scott continues to claim that he made it more difficult for those with a past felony conviction to regain their right to vote because he wants to 'make sure people have turned their life around.'"

"But people who have completed all the terms and conditions of a sentence deserve to have their rights restored. Gov. Scott and his cabinet are using these excuses as cover to maintain a discredited system that manipulates elections in which more than one in five Black Floridians are barred from voting.

"Florida voters may soon have an opportunity to amend the state’s constitution to remove this stain of Civil War-era racism and ensure that returning citizens are given every chance to participate in our democracy."

The Sentencing Project’s report 6 Million Lost Voters is available at the organization’s website:


The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

Right-Wing Justices Should Be Impeached for Lying Under Oath, Says Ocasio-Cortez

"We have a responsibility to protect our democracy," said the New York Democrat. "That includes holding those in power who violate the law accountable."

Kenny Stancil ·

'Infuriating': Biden Rebuked for Continued Opposition to Supreme Court Expansion

"What does Biden 'agree' with doing?" Mehdi Hasan asked. "What does the leader of this country want to do to stop the increasingly fascistic assault on our democratic institutions and basic rights?"

Kenny Stancil ·

'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·

Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·

'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo