Journal of African American Studies

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 1–18 | Cite as

Felon Disenfranchisement Laws and the Feedback Loop of Political Exclusion: the Case of Florida

  • Anthony Jamal Phillips
  • Natalie Deckard


Violence against Black bodies in Florida is so widespread that the national #BlackLivesMatter movement was born in the state on the night young Trayvon Martin was killed with impunity. This research investigates the socio-political context in which this violence is both legal and apparently accepted, problematizing the citizenship status of members of the Floridian African-American community—over 23 % of whom cannot vote due to stringent state felony disenfranchisement legislation. This research estimates the effects of this widespread electoral exclusion on Floridian elections and, resultantly, on the legislative realities of the state. We find that the form and extent of felony disenfranchisement in Florida have likely put the Right Party in power, worked to create legislation that is counter to the interests of African-Americans, and ultimately achieved a marginalization of the population so deleterious to its citizenship status as to put into question the worth of its members’ lives.


Felon disenfranchisement Political rights Voting African-Americans Florida 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA

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