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Race, Felon Voting Privilege, Fines/Fees, and Recidivism: The Miami-Dade Experience

The issue of felon voting rights has long been a mainstay in the public and political discourse. Proponents who believe felons should have their voting eligibility restored claim that doing so will help to make the person ‘whole’ again, dignify their status as a normal citizen once again, and aid in the re-entry process. On the other hand, opponents of instituting felon voting rights claim that felons have to earn their right to vote and may do so after meeting a series of criteria, including fulfilling the terms of their sentences. 

This project evaluates the effects of the passing of Amendment 4 in Florida, which was designed to restore the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after completing all terms of their sentence, including a requirement that people with felony records pay all fines and fees associated with their sentence prior to the restoration of their voting rights. The research team will examine differences between felons who owed fines and fees and felons who did not owe fines and fees, on whether: 

  1. one group was more likely to register to vote; 

  1. one group was more likely to actually vote in the November 2020 US Presidential Election; and 

  1. whether those groups in #1 and #2 were disproportionately more likely than their comparison group to recidivate. 

This research is important not only in the specific context of Florida, but also more generally in the United States as voting laws and procedures continue to be debated. In doing so, research outcomes from this study will inform policy discussion regarding felon voting rights and felons re-entry into society more generally. 

Date Funded

Racial Inequality and the Community Reinvestment Act

Lack of access to capital is a recurring theme in discussions of poverty and inequality among racial groups. Discriminatory lending practices, such as “redlining,” are thought to limit accumulation of wealth and the growth of businesses in lower income and minority neighborhoods. The negative consequences may include lower employment and incomes for minorities living in these areas, and they may be worse still for women of color. Yet there is little direct evidence on the extent to which financial barriers have such effects. 

This project will estimate the effects of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), a policy intended to reduce inequality through financial access, on disparities in entrepreneurship, employment, and poverty outcomes by race and ethnicity, asking whether the CRA reduces racial inequality in entrepreneurship, employment, and income.  

This research will provide critical evidence to government agencies implementing the CRA, community organizations working to enforce and improve the policy, and policymakers involved in the ongoing efforts to reform the CRA and to encourage agencies to incorporate goals of racial justice. 

Date Funded