Update: Voting Rights Restoration Initiative

by Heidi Harris

Women’s March members, working with Julie Thaler, continue to collect signed petitions for the Voter Rights Restoration Petition to be delivered to the Florida State House and Senate and Gov. Rick Scott.

On April 20, the ballot language passed the state supreme court, a victory for this measure that will help restore voter rights to Florida citizens.

We have partnered with the Alachua County Labor Coalition (ACLC) to structure and manage the process of gathering almost 800,000 signatures statewide. Together, we have formed the North Florida Voter Rights Restoration Coalition, and will continue to network and join efforts with other activist groups across the state.

For nearly 200 years, Florida has had some of the strictest voting regulations in the country when it comes to those convicted on felony charges. Florida is one of three states in the country which disallows ex-felons who have served part or all of their sentences the right to vote for the rest of their lives.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice:

“Florida has one of the most punitive disenfranchisement policies in the country, permanently barring all citizens with felony convictions from voting unless they individually apply to the state Office of Executive Clemency for rights restoration. This policy bars more than 1.6 million Floridians – including more than one in five African-Americans in the state – from the polls. Florida has the highest disenfranchisement rate in the country.”

The time is NOW to put this initiative before the voters, but we need your help!

We are currently developing a tabling/canvassing calendar of events for those who want to help gather signed petitions toward our district and statewide goals and requirements. No prior experience is required, and we will provide training.

Please join us in this effort! Sign up to get involved by emailing: heidi.jones.harris@gmail.com. 

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