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Tag: Floridians for a Fair Democracy

Release from a Political Life Sentence: How Florida Voters Approved the Largest Enfranchisement in 47 Years – Part II

By: Zach McDonnell

This post is the second post of a two-part series. Part One focused on the provisions of the Florida Constitution that disenfranchises ex-felons, how the administration of Governor Rick Scott strictly interpreted those provisions, and the now-moot lawsuit to upend Governor Scott’s felon-disenfranchisement rules.

In late 2014, the PAC Floridians for a Fair Democracy started the long process of putting a rights-restoration amendment in front of Florida voters, with an initial goal of making it to the ballot in 2016; however, the signature threshold required under Florida law (eight percent of votes cast in the previous presidential election—which in 2014 amounted to 766,200 signatures) was far too formidable to be met in such a short amount of time. By October 2016, restoration advocates, led by the non-profit Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), had garnered only enough signatures to trigger review by the Florida Supreme Court for the ballot initiative’s language—a mere 76,632 (the Florida Supreme Court later approved the language on April 20, 2017).

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Florida Former Felons Form Franchise Focus

By: Alannah Shubrick

All men are created equal. Then, some of those men go forth into the world and commit felonies. While felons in Maine or Vermont can cast ballots from the comfort of their prison cells, those convicted of felonies in Florida permanently lose their ability to vote.

Florida is one of only four states that permanently disenfranchise felons. Each of these states has procedures whereby individual felons can apply for clemency. However, in Florida, felons must wait an additional five years after completing the terms of their sentence before applying for clemency consideration. Then, only about 8% of clemency requests are granted.

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