Are you a felon in Florida, and therefore unable to legally vote? Don't be so quick to say no. In the 2000 presidential vote, mistakes in the Florida list of ineligible-to-vote felons barred thousands of people from voting who shouldn't have been prohibited, either because they were felons whose voting rights had been legally restored or because they had been punished only for misdemeanors, not felonies, and should never have had their voting rights removed to begin with. Reports came in of people barred from voting because they had the same name as a felon, or a name added to the list because it was similar to that of a felon. It was, in a word, ugly, and not the best day for American democracy. In 2000, the only way to find out if you were barred from voting in Florida was to go to the polls on election day and hope you were permitted to vote.
That's not the case today. In a perfect example of the proper role for the Internet in a modern democracy, the group People for the American Way is making available on the web the list of more than 47,000 registered Florida voters who the Florida Division of Elections believes should be ineligible. Given the mistakes last time around, all voters in Florida should check to make sure that their names aren't improperly on the list. The PFAW page includes what to do -- and who to call -- if you do find your name on the list. The only drawback to the listing is that it's only available as PDF, not in HTML; I suspect a conversion to HTML will be done by one of the civic-minded folks on the web any day now -- do tell us if you find one out there.
Now how about the other 49 states and their voter registration lists? Somebody should be looking at the swing state lists very closely at the very least.