Weâ€™re not the only news outlet to take a look at Floridaâ€™s new clemency policies for people with felony convictions, but weâ€™ve noticed the competition might have overlooked a few things in rushing to get the story out last week.
This article by the New York Times, "In a Break From the Past, Florida Will Let Felons Vote," misstates a statistic on disenfranchised felons in Florida. The reporter writes that the "vast majority" of disenfranchised Floridians are black. Not true, according to the most reliable studies on this issue. They are disproportionately black, but the actual number of blacks officially barred from voting under the felon-disenfranchisement policies do not constitute a majority of the stateâ€™s disenfranchised population â€“ more like a third. Next time they try to highlight racial inequality in the system, the Times should take care to avoid enforcing stereotypes about black criminality.
For more details on racial disproportionality in the disenfranchised felon population, see Appendixes A and B in this study by researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Minnesota.
Though the Timesâ€™s fact-checking resources probably amount to more than our annual operating budget, they unfortunately have not posted a correction for this. They did, however, at least acknowledge that they were off on the enactment date of the voting ban... by a century.