Over 1 Million Florida Felons Win the Right to Vote with Amendment 4
After Election Day on November 6, 2018, Florida will restore the voting rights of individuals convicted of felonies. These people will be able to vote again after serving their prison sentences, as long as they meet the terms of their convictions during parole and probation.
Persons serving jail time for murder or sex offenses are not included in Amendment 4 and are not eligible to regain their voting rights. Otherwise, those who committed minor crimes served their time, and are now trying to rebuild their lives can have a voice in the political system once again.
Neil Volz of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition said that the issue is more than rural, urban, or suburban and that it goes well beyond partisan division. He pointed out that it is a subject that affects all types of communities and people of all walks of life.
Restoring Voting Rights in Florida
Around 1.5 million people were banned from voting in Florida due to previous felony convictions. This number reflects approximately 10 percent of adults in the state. However, those who already served their time in prison were forced to appeal to the governor to have their voting rights restored.
This current measure took years to develop and pass. In February of 2018, a federal judge decided that Florida’s method to reinstating voting rights was unconstitutional. African Americans are the most affected by the situation. Generally, over 20 percent of black adults cannot vote due to prior felony convictions. The judge declared that the elected officials within the state should not have the power to remove such a right from so many people and that citizens deserve a right to vote. This ruling allowed Amendment 4 to come onto the floor.
In the past, Florida residents depended on the governor to decide for each personal case through a pardon. Over 150,000 Florida residents saw their voting rights reinstated when Charlie Crist, a Democrat, was in office for four years. However, Rick Scott’s governorship put an end to that as only 3,000 people had their voting rights restored since 2011 under his leadership.
Progress for Florida
Amendment 4’s ballot initiative can affect the state of Florida’s Constitution considerably and future elections. This would be relatively groundbreaking for a swing state that is known for having extremely close outcomes during elections.
After the 2018 election, 64 percent of Florida residents decided that it was appropriate and more than acceptable to restore the voting rights of felons. The measure needed 60 percent of votes to pass.
Orlando Civil Rights Restoration Attorney
Soon, the ability to restore the rights of convicted felons will no longer rely upon the governor and the Board of Executive Clemency, requiring legal assistance. However, the civil rights restoration lawyers with the Umansky Law Firm are there for you in any other related issues. Our experienced attorneys are devoted to helping individuals receive a second chance and return to leading an ordinary life. Contact us today by calling our office for a free case evaluation.