Florida gubernatorial candidates are weighing in on Gov. Rick Scott and his Executive Clemency Board’s appeal of a federal judge’s ruling. District Judge Mark Walker last week ruled the board must overhaul the voting rights restoration process for felons.
Miami Beach Mayor and gubernatorial hopeful Philip Levine called the Clemency Board’s move “ironic and tone-deaf” coming on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Gwen Graham, who will face Levine in the Democratic primary, called the current restoration system “a shameful policy with roots in the Jim Crow era.”
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, also vying for the democratic nomination, said Scott and the Clemency Board are “on the wrong side of history.”
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who is running for governor on the Republican ticket, is one fourth of the Clemency Board. In a statement, he called District Judge Mark Walker’s ruling “unconstitutional” and “extreme.”
Judge Walker last week gave Scott and the board until April 26 to revise the restoration scheme. As it stands, people with a felony must wait a mandatory five years before applying to be seen by the board, which can take as long as 10 years in some cases.