Florida Must Restore Voting Rights to Ex-Felons This November
We’ve previously discussed just how unjust it is that those who have already served their time in Florida are permanently robbed of the ability to vote for the rest of their lives. Years after they have already served their sentences, ex-felons in the Sunshine State continue to be punished by being permanently disenfranchised. This election year, this sad, outdated state of things still holds, as more than one million Floridians won’t be able to cast their vote due to a previous felony conviction.
However, according to the latest survey results, most Floridians support the ballot measure coming up this November (Amendment 4) that would restore voting rights for most convicted felons who have already completed their sentences (with an exception for those who served time for murder or sex offenses). This means that nearly 1.5 million Floridians—approximately 10 percent of the voting population—could regain their voting rights in Florida, which is one of only four states where convicted felons are barred from voting even after they have completed prison, parole, and probation.
The Amendment needs at least 60 percent approval in order to pass. The Miami Herald reportedly plans to conduct a series of surveys through the November elections in an effort to gauge public support for the measure.
Could Conditional Support End Up Defeating The Ballot Measure?
Still, in spite of the amendment’s apparent widespread popularity throughout the state, a number of interest groups have expressed conditional support for the amendment, while also suggesting adding conditional language, such as requiring a “period of good behavior,” or continuing to bar those with multiple felony convictions from voting.
This Speaks To a Broader Picture Concerning What We Do To Prisoners
The issue points to a broader picture of a majority of citizens in states like Florida not only supporting the restoration of voting rights to ex-felons, but integrating some leniency and promoting rehabilitation instead of prison time for certain non-violent crimes. Overall, there is a desperate call for legislators to find and embrace alternative approaches. This approach most certainly has worked for non-violent juvenile offenders, many of whom have an opportunity to do community service and make restitution instead of doing prison time, thereby increasing their chances of reentering society.
Contact Our Florida Criminal Defense & Civil Rights Attorneys Today
In February, a federal judge ruled that Florida’s system for barring former felons of their right to vote is unconstitutional. Regardless of whether Amendment 4 passes this November, if you have been denied your civil rights as the result of a criminal charge or conviction, contact one of our experienced Florida criminal defense and civil rights attorneys at the Baez Law Firm today to find out how we can ensure that your rights are protected.