This paper will explore the origins of Florida’s felony disenfranchisement laws in the period from 1865 to 1968. The first part of this paper will review the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which ended slavery, and the Florida Black Code, which sought to return freedmen to a slavery-like status. The second part of the paper will explore Florida’s reaction to the passage of the Reconstruction Act of 1867, which conditioned reentrance into the Union on the writing of new state constitutions by former Confederate states extending the right to vote to all males regardless of race, and ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The third part will explore the felony disenfranchisement provisions of the 1868 Florida Constitution and the persistence and effect of those provisions in the 1968 Florida Constitution.
Sarah A. Lewis, The Disenfranchisement of Ex-Felons in Florida: A Brief History, ECAN Bulletin, Dec. 2018 at 10