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NSF Breaking Story: Court Grants Stay in Felons' Rights Battle

In a victory for Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet, the News Service of Florida (NSF) reports a federal appeals court Wednesday night blocked a lower-court ruling that set a Thursday deadline for revamping the state’s process of restoring felons’ voting rights. 

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker, finding that the current system of restoring rights is unconstitutional, ordered last month that the state quickly change the process. But a panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay of Walker’s order.

Reports NSF: 

“The State Executive Clemency Board (Scott and the Cabinet) ... has a substantial interest in avoiding chaos and uncertainty in its election procedures, and likely should not be forced to employ a rushed decision-making process created on an artificial deadline now, just because a more thorough decision-making process could be employed later,” a majority of the appellate panel said. 

“We are reluctant to upset the system now in place -- particularly since the district court order creates so truncated a schedule -- when there is a good chance the district court’s order may be overturned, and the system would need to be changed still again, potentially re-disenfranchising those who have been reenfranchised pursuant to the district court’s injunction.” The News Service will have a full story later.

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