An estimated 1.4 million freed Florida felons may start registering to vote, a federal judge has ruled.
Tuesday's decision by District Judge Robert Hinkle is a potential watershed in the two-year fight over the future political rights of those who have been released from prison in the nation's biggest battleground state.
If it survives an appeal, which seems likely given several previous rulings in the dispute, then felons could vote in the Aug. 18 primaries and in the presidential election — capping the biggest single voting rights expansion in American history.
How low does a seed have to be to officially be a "Cinderella" team? Banning straight-ticket voting and promoting so-called STAR voting have scored big upsets, but otherwise the top seeds in the Voting division of our Democracy Madness bracket are through to the Elite Eight.
The next round starts Wednesday and continues Thursday.
Automatic voter registration and ranked-choice voting blew away their opponents in the first round, while felon voting rights and early voting both snuck through. AVR and felon voting rights are going head-to-head now. Will felon voting rights be able to pull off the upset? Or will AVR continue to crush its opponents?
Democracy reform is a really broad topic — with many more ideas for fixing the system than the long list of reasons why Americans say the government's not working for them.
So which is the most transformative proposal for ending the dysfunction and putting voters back at the center of things? Since you may have more time to think during this season of social distancing, it seems a good time to ask: If you had to pick a single reform, what would it be?
We're calling this Democracy Madness.
The NCAA tournament never happened, baseball hasn't started and pro basketball and hockey are in limbo. But we all love competition, so we've seeded 64 proposals and divided them among four topical "regions."
We'll tackle a quarter of the draw at a time. Your votes on voting reforms today and tomorrow will turn the top 16 ideas into eight — two days later we'll be down to four, and so on. (Future brackets will contest ideas for reforming campaign finance, elections, civic life and Congress.)
You can click the matchups, then each label, for more about the proposals. Click the Vote Now button to get started.
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Progressive democracy reform groups are seizing on a brief comment from President Trump as smoking gun evidence Republicans oppose making it easier to vote because they fear doing worse with bigger turnout.
Preventing election fraud has been the GOP's singular public reasoning for supporting tight rules of access to the ballot box. Democrats and voting rights groups say that's a subterfuge, noting the scant evidence of criminality and the solid evidence that more people voting means fewer wins for Republicans.
Trump openly embraced that concept Monday when discussing proposals he said he blocked from the coronavirus economic rescue package — emphasizing his rebuff of the $2 billion Democrats sought to pay for nationwide voting-at-home, online registration and expanded early voting in person.