Florida ban on felon voting is upheld.
Ex-felons sued in 2000 to get their voting rights restored when their sentences are finished, instead of having to apply through a complex system for civil rights restoration. Many never apply or don't complete the process.
The lead attorney for the ex-offenders argued the law is a violation of the U.S. Voting Rights Act, is antidemocratic, and disproportionally disenfranchises blacks.
A total of 600,000 people in Florida are banned; 167,000 are blacks, she said.
The court noted Florida first adopted its ban on felon voting in 1845, basing it on a "nonracial rationale." Blacks were not allowed to vote at the time.
Forty-six states and the District of Columbia have laws depriving inmates of the right to vote to some extent. In 14 states, ex-offenders who have fully served their sentences can, like Florida, be disenfranchised for life.