We should have seen this coming! For over three years, volunteers all across the State of Florida worked very hard, first to collect enough petitions to put the Rights Restoration Amendment on the ballot, and then campaigned for its passage. On November 6, 2018, the voters of Florida overwhelmingly approved Amendment 4 to restore the right to vote to most of the 1.4 million Floridians with prior felony convictions. Starting on January 8, 2019, when this law goes into effect, any former felon (other than those convicted of murder or felony sexual offense) who has completed all of the terms of their sentence should be able to register to vote. The language of Amendment 4 was designed to be self-executing,and no legislative or executive action should be necessary for its implementation.
But now, Governor-Elect Ron DeSantis says that Amendment 4 (which he opposed) should not go into effect until the Florida Legislature passes “implementing language” in a bill which he would then sign! Since the next legislative session does not start until March, this would delay the restoration of voting rights to felons for months.
On December 13, 2018, a letter was sent to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner on behalf of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, the ACLU of Florida, the League of Women Voters of Florida, and Latino Justice. The letter makes it very clear that the position of these civil and voting rights organizations is that Amendment 4 is self-executing and goes into effect on January 8, 2019. (A PDF copy of the letter is attached.) In the event that DeSantis and other officials do not back down, the ACLU of Florida and the other organizations should sue to force them to stop stalling and automatically restore the right to vote!
If you would like to have your voice heard on this issue, you can contact the following individuals and tell them to stop stalling and to carry out the will of the people!
Secretary of State Ken Detzner: 850-245-6500 or SecretaryofState@DOS.MyFlorida.com
Governor-Elect Ron DeSantis: 904-827-1101 or firstname.lastname@example.org
I am including a copy below of the notice I have prepared for Broward County residents who have felony convictions. (Also attached as a PDF.) Please share this on Facebook and with every person on your email or other lists!
With thanks for your help and Happy Holidays!
SECOND CHANCES FOR FELONS
This notice is for any and all Broward County residents who have a felony conviction, other than murder or felony sexual offense, and who have completed all of the terms of their sentence.
On November 6, 2018, the voters of Florida approved Amendment 4. The voting rights restoration amendment restores the right to register to vote to any former felon who has completed all of the terms of their sentence, other than those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense.
This restoration of voting rights goes into effect on January 8, 2019. If you live in Broward County, have a felony conviction in your past, but have completed all of the terms of your sentence, and would like to register to vote, you can contact any local political party, the Supervisor of Elections Office, the League of Women Voters, or the American Civil Liberties Association.
You can also contact Alan Ehrlich, a Broward County attorney who works with the 2nd Chances Campaign, by sending an email to email@example.com. Please include your telephone number in the message you send, and he will contact you to let you know where and when you can register to vote.