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Florida’s Constitution has disenfranchised ex-felons since 1868. Why? Returning citizens should be able to vote with everyone else.
It’s right there in the Declaration of Independence!
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed“…
Say YES to Second Chances! Support the movement to change Florida’s Constitution via the 2018 Voting Restoration Amendment. Read about the campaign and sign up to volunteer or donate at Second Chances Florida.
In 2017 people mobilized to collect and submit more than one million petitions authorizing Florida to put this Amendment on the ballot as Amendment 4. Here is the petition and a short video that helped propel the effort. This year, we must rally public support in Florida to reach the 60% approval threshold necessary for passage.
Are you registered to vote? If not (and if you are eligible to vote), then register to vote!
Signing up to Vote By Mail insures that your vote counts on Election Day: Factors like wait times, distance, schedule, or time to really consider the multiple amendments become non-issues. Signups expire after two general elections. Contact your county’s Supervisor of Elections to renew or enroll.
Whether or not you are registered to vote you can take action locally. People Power, a function of the ACLU, is helping to organize local, grassroots actions. You can find events they promote across Florida here.
Or, check out The Indivisible Project and contact a local group. With additional interest (e.g. from you!) in the Voting Restoration Amendment (#VRAFL), groups can plan more targeted demonstrations and educational events supporting the amendment.
Do you have suggestions or knowledge of other groups in Florida that are active? Let us know and we can add them to this space.
Everyone (Florida and non-Florida):
You are the force that will push the Amendment over the top! Contact people you know in Florida and discuss the Amendment. You will familiarize them with a topic they likely know little about. Many think that ex-felons everywhere can’t vote, yet forty states restore rights upon completion of sentence and six others have conditions regarding which felonies merit post-sentence disenfranchisement.
Most people don’t realize the extreme nature of Florida’s policy. It’s not normal to depend on the whim of the Governor to regain civil rights. This has led to more than 1.4 MILLION Floridians having no say about matters that affect them and their families. Such as war and peace? Accountability of government officials? Usage and allocation of tax revenues? School board decisions affecting their children or grandchildren?
Invite your church and/or other social justice organizations in your area to extend the same level of personal engagement with people they know in Florida. Publicizing this campaign among their membership leverages your efforts through their larger numbers.
Use social media to encourage open-minded people to act. For example, here is a twitter thread regarding a sign that residents put on their door amidst the intensity of a runoff election in Georgia. The discussion makes you wonder whether it’s a sad sign of the times or if the residents are relying on commonsense (incorrect) assumptions. (Florida’s amendment would catch up to Georgia by restoring voting rights after completing all terms of sentence including probation and parole.) By watching these discussions and adding a “Like”, repost or comment, you promote the subject/content of Florida’s Voting Restoration Amendment.
Make a contribution to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC.) Volunteers gathered the first 71,000 petitions that triggered the Florida Supreme Court’s (successful) review of the ballot language.
- When a big state like Florida bans ex-felons from voting for life, the policy and scale is so abnormal that roughly half of all U.S. post-sentence disenfranchisements are Floridians. (See Table 3) by The Sentencing Project
- 50-State Comparison: Loss and Restoration of Civil Rights & Firearms Rights
- Map of State Criminal Re-enfranchisement Laws
- History of Florida’s Felony Disenfranchisement Provision by Brennan Center for Justice
- Florida changed its state Constitution in 1868 to restrict the voting power of Florida’s immense black population.
- Convict Leasing: Slavery by Another Name, Convict Leasing in Alabama, Digital History
In the News
- Miami Rights by Samantha Bee
- Florida’s felon vote: Destroying lives and wasting taxpayer dollars by Dyckman and Paulson, 11/29/16
- Ex-Felon Voting Rights Comments
9/26/17: Amazing panel of Voting Restoration leaders!
The Democratic Club of Delray Beach will sponsor a panel discussion on restoring ex-felons’ voting rights.
September 26, 2017 at 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Come early! Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for a light meal and socializing before the meeting. RSVP appreciated but not required: 813-968-8316 or via Contact Us
Venue: Pompey Park Recreation Center — map
1101 NW 2nd Street, Delray Beach, FL 33444
- Neil Volz, Ex-Felon — Treasurer, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition / @Volzie
Neil is featured with Coalition founder Desmond Meade in a five-minute video segment by Samantha Bee.
- Pastor Prince Arafat, Ex-Felon — Born and raised in Delray Beach, Prince is a community activist and Street Patrol Warrior. He loves helping people achieve their goals in life. Prince served almost 15 years in DOC and now works with the Delray Police department and Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office as community liaison.
- Arlene Ustin — League of Women Voters. Arlene has worked tirelessly for the Voting Restoration Amendment.
- Dr. Mark Schneider — ACLU of Florida Board of Directors, President of the Palm Beach County Chapter of ACLU Florida