Florida mass-murderer registers to vote, sparking outrage

Relatives of victims murdered in Florida high school mass-shooting decry gunman's registering to vote.

David Rosenberg ,

Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz in court
Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz in court

Relatives of victims killed in a mass-shooting in a Florida high school earlier this year expressed outrage after it was learned that the perpetrator of the massacre had registered to vote nearly half a year after the deadly attack.

On February 14th, then-19-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz opened fire on staff members and students at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Using an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, Cruz killed 17 students and staff members, and wounded another 17 before being taken into custody.

The massacre reignited public debate over gun control laws, including sales of the AR-15 rifle, and the minimum age for purchasing firearms.

Over the weekend, however, Cruz sparked another battle over public policy, after it was discovered that he had registered with Broward County election officials to vote in this year’s midterm election.

According to his Florida voter registration page, Cruz, now 20, registered to vote on July 25th of this year – more than five months after he was taken into custody for the deadly shooting. Cruz’s voter page lists him as a member of the state Republican Party.

Relatives of Meadow Pollack, an 18-year-old senior at Stoneman Douglas High who was shot and killed during the mass-shooting, protested the fact that Cruz had been permitted to register from jail.

“I'm sick to my stomach,” tweeted Meadow’s father, Andrew Pollack, who blamed local Democratic officials.

Cruz “murdered 17 students & staff, including my daughter Meadow. Yet in July, Broward Sheriff @ScottJIsrael let people into the jail to get him & other animals registered to vote.The Despicable Democrats have no shame.Can't let them steal this election,” Pollack tweeted on Saturday.

Meadow’s brother, Hunter Pollack, echoed his father’s comments in a tweet Sunday morning “My sisters killer is registered to vote in Broward County thanks to Brenda Snipes.”

On Sunday, Andrew Pollack again blasted Broward County officials for allowing Cruz to register to vote, calling them “demented”.

“Sleaze ball Democrats want illegal aliens to vote in our elections. Not surprising. Those same democrats marched into the jail that is holding my daughters killer & registered him to vote. These people are demented. They must never run our state or country ever again. #FixIt.”

Broward County came into the national spotlight following last Tuesday’s midterm election. Amid an automatic recount for the US Senate race between incumbent Democratic Bill Nelson and Republican Governor Rick Scott, the nature of the recount has become a focus of contention, reminiscent of the ‘hanging-chad’ controversy after the 2000 presidential election.

County officials pushed back against criticism regarding Cruz’s registration to vote, noting that given the presumption of innocence, Cruz could not be stripped of the right to vote until he has been convicted of murder.

"Inmates being registered to vote is nothing new. It doesn't have anything to do with the sheriff," Broward Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright said. "Taking away the voting rights of an eligible person awaiting trial is illegal."

Nevertheless news of Cruz’s registration has drawn renewed public interest in the issue of extending the franchise to felons.

In last week’s election, Florida voters backed a measure, Amendment Four, which extended the right to vote to most convicted felons. Some 9% of voting-age Floridians were estimated to have been barred from voting prior to the amendment’s passage due to previous felonies.

While felons currently being incarcerated will still be unable to vote, most felons who have completed their sentences will be able to register and vote. Murderers and felony-level sex offenders, such as rapists, will not be affected by Amendment Four.