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Politics

Florida Voters to Decide on Restoring Felon Voting Rights on 2018 Ballot

January 23, 2018 - 1:30pm

Come November, Florida voters will determine whether or not to restore voting rights to 1.5 million registered felons across the state. 

Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced Tuesday that the proposal to restore felon voting rights had surpassed the necessary 766,000 valid signatures to be placed on the ballot in November later this year. 

According to the Florida Division of Elections website, the petition had gathered nearly 800,000 valid signatures as of Tuesday morning. 

“Through the hard work of Florida voters and unwavering dedication of a truly grassroots movement, we have reached a historic milestone and have officially placed the Second Chances Voting Restoration Amendment on the ballot,” said Desmond Meade, Chair of Floridians for a Fair Democracy and spokesperson for Second Chances Florida Campaign. 

Meade, a convicted felon, has been working for years on the petition, which will appear as Amendment 4 on the ballot later this year. 

“Voters took matters in their own hands to ensure that their fellow Floridians, family members, and friends who’ve made past mistakes, served their time and paid their debts to society are given a second chance and the opportunity to earn back their ability to vote,” said Meade. 

For nearly 200 years, Florida has had one of the strictest voting regulations in the country when it comes to released felons. Florida is one of three states in the country which disallows ex-felons who have served part or all of their sentences the right to vote for the rest of their lives.
 
The proposed amendment would not allow those convicted of sex crimes or murders to vote.
 
When Gov. Rick Scott took office in 2011, he largely reversed the policy to restore felon voting rights instituted under former Gov. Charlie Crist. Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi made it so felons would have to wait at least five years after finishing their sentences before they could apply to vote again.
 
Over 10,000 requests currently sit in Scott’s office, waiting for the seal of approval, but the governor and Bondi have been notoriously slow in restoring felon voting rights, only approving around a quarter of those applications so far. 

Felons make up around nine percent of Floridians. 

Supporters of the amendment urged Floridians to vote in favor of Amendment 4, saying the measure would be life-changing for millions of disenfranchised Floridians.

“People believe in forgiveness, redemption, restoration and, ultimately, second chances,” said Ash Mason, Chairman of the Christian Coalition of Florida. “It is why voters from all corners of the state and all walks of life – including religious groups and people working to build stronger communities – support the Voting Restoration Amendment. It’s simply the right thing to do.”

 

 

Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen


READ MORE FROM SUNSHINE STATE NEWS
 

Comments

Here in Florida, school kids are cutting class to march for "stricter gun control",... and the democrats are pushing to make it easier for felons to have their "rights" restored. "Rights" which include purchasing,...ready...???... firearms. Libtardism continually proves itself a debilitating mental disorder,... without even trying.

They say that the measure would be life changing for millions of disenfranchised felons, what about the victims. There is no such thing as an ex-felon as some call them, they are a felon for life just as a victim is a victim for life. My wife is a victim of a crime and lives with it every day of her life and will take it to her grave. So the perpetrator shall live with it every day and be reminded why they cannot vote.

Florida Felons can not Vote but those who move here from states where their rights are reinstated can. WTH ?

How about we include identity theft? This is something I would expect from CA, not Fla. Have a sneaky feeling that we will not see many of these folks make full restitution. So how about home invasion, a popular crime in some circles? That forgiven? Armed robbery? A horrible idea from the folks that gave us the government shu

"If you do the crime, you should DEFINITELY do the time"... ALL OF IT,.. AS WELL AS THE ATTENDANT "LOSS OF RIGHTS" ! What are we "looking" for here?!?.... "Majority Rule"????? (You know what THAT gets us,...."The Hanging tree" !!!)

....and, WHY THE HELL is this a "ballot issue"?!? Tallahassee "panderers" afraid to do their jobs AGAIN ?!?!?

Wanna VOTE ???? GET a "PARDON" from the Governor of your State, where you "did your dastardly deed" ! (That's "how it works" for CRIMINALS, and former CRIMINALS like you ! ! !)

Over $4 million was poured into this campaign by a variety of left-wing organizations, some from as far away as San Francisco. Ask yourself why that is?

We all recognize this is a progressive left-wing initiative but who are the folks behind the funding and advancing this ballot measure to remove a long held consequence of bad behavior? A little transparency would be welcomed.

I grew up with the knowledge that a convicted felon loses their right to vote. What does giving it back do? Will it cause those felons to become better citizens or is this political wrangling? Does anyone want to bet lunch which political party will win off this?

Sounds like a desperate attempt by the democratic party to get votes. Since the majority of most felons vote democrat.

Sorry, but you are showing your fear of experience.

"Robert Warner", you're a fool who obviously doesn't have enough "experience" to 'recognize' the necessary "fear" to keep you safe in your bed at night...

They have paid their debt to society. We all now need their inputs.

Sorry "Bobby-boy", but you're still an ignorant fool..!

WTF? Florida harbors 1,500,000 felons within our borders? I can't fathom they are all graduates of our state penal system What inducement are we giving felons to entice them to relocate here. The sheer numbers is scary given those incorrigibles who return to the life of crime that got them slammer time is pegged at a third by three yyears and of those felons out for five years, the return rate jumps to 65%. Giving them the vote will do what to benefit our country?

I have no problem restoring a felon’s right to vote as long as: 1. Has completed all probation requirements and is no longer under any supervision 2. Has made full and complete restitution of any and all civil judgments. 3. Has paid all court costs and fees, including felon’s attorney fees (if any). If convicted again (following appeals as appropriate), then individual would permanently lose right to vote.

Well said, but I suspect that this is NOT the case, just as there is NO push to restore a felon's right to own or carry a firearm.. Funny how that works..

Wow, wish I would have said that!

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