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Florida's Felon Voting Rights Injunction Stayed Pending Appeal

By George Khoury, Esq. on May 09, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Governor Rick Scott and the Florida state Clemency Board have filed an appeal to the federal district court's injunction which epicly slammed the two for violating the voting rights of felons.

However, in addition to appealing the district court's order, they sought a stay to prevent the enforcement of the injunction while the appeal was pending. Interestingly, while the district court judge seemed to have strong feelings in favor of restoring the voting rights of felons, the appellate court seems to be more in favor of the governor's position.

The Fight for Voting Rights

Along with the injunction issued by the federal district court, the governor and Clemency Board would have been required to rework the current process by which felons get their voting rights restored once released. However, for many, the Hand v. Scott matter is more political than anything civil rights related.

Regardless of politics, the appellate court appears poised to reject the district court's order as overreach. In addition to finding that the governor proved a likelihood of success on the merits based on a long line of binding precedent, it noted that there were "serious and substantial problems that inhere in the remedies the district court has chosen."

It Might Not Matter

In an interesting twist, if you have had your head in the wonderful Florida sand and haven't heard or read anything about their upcoming November election, there's a ballot measure that could render the entire case moot. This November, Florida voters will be asked to decide whether most felons should have their voting rights automatically restored, rather than go through the current clemency process.

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