Will convicted felons decide the presidential election?

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Convicted felon Yraida Guanipa reacts after she registered to vote at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department office in Miami, Florida on January 8, 2019

Under federal law, and under the laws of most states, it is illegal to pay someone to vote.

Since the United States uses secret ballots, it is immaterial whether you try to pay someone to vote for a particular candidate; the way someone votes can never be proven.

So it is simply illegal to offer someone something of considerable value to make them vote. A cookie? That’s OK. A bottle of water. Sure. But substantial sums of money, like hundreds or even thousands of dollars?

That’s why billionaire Michael Bloomberg might be in some trouble, along with basketball star LeBron James. Both are offering to pay off the outstanding fines of felons in Florida, so that they can vote in the presidential election.

Not vote for a particular candidate – again, that can never be enforced or proven. But since both of the mega-rich men are avowed Democrats, they are obviously assuming something interesting:

That convicted felons will tend to be black, and tend to vote Democrat.

“Florida’s estimated 774,000 disenfranchised felons represent a significant bloc in a state well known for razor-thin election margins,” ABC News reported in July, in coverage of LeBron James’ efforts to give money to felons. “Many of those felons are black and presumably Democrats.”

This statement is miserably sad for blacks and should be cause of shame among Democratic leaders, if Democratic leaders were capable of shame.

All this is was made possible when Floridians voted to amend the state constitution in 2018 to allow felons who have served their sentences to regain the right to vote, provided all their fines, fees and restitutions are paid off.

On Sept. 22, it was reported by Axios that former NYC mayor Bloomberg had raised over $16 million for, and donated $5 million to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, which helps felons to vote again by paying their outstanding debts and restitution.

The move was even supported and celebrated in a Sept. 21 editorial in the New York Times.

How is “paying off someone’s debts” so that they can vote different from “paying someone” to vote? In both cases you are gifting someone with a financial advantage. In both cases you are using wealth to coerce someone to vote.

And while efforts to restore felon voting rights are portrayed as patriotic, compassionate and fair, including by a stridently leftist Democrat news media, the real reason is, again, very clear as Bloomberg pitches in his millions only a month before a critical presidential election:

Stereotyping that felons are blacks who will vote Democrat.

On Fox News’ Hannity on Sept. 22, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz said he had already spoken to Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody prior to his appearance on the show about Bloomberg’s voter effort in his state.

“I believe there may be a criminal investigation already underway of the Bloomberg-connected activities in Florida,” Gaetz told Sean Hannity.

“[Under Florida law] it’s a third-degree felony for someone to either directly or indirectly provide something of value to impact whether or not someone votes. So the question is whether or not paying off someone’s fines and legal obligations counts as something of value, and it clearly does. If Michael Bloomberg was offering to pay off people’s credit card debts, you would obviously see the value in that.”

As for basketball star James, it is difficult to see how his efforts to rack up votes for Joe Biden in November are any different.

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