Voting Rights Restoration Amendment: Homestretch for making the 2018 ballot

by Jack Kulas

BALLOT TITLE: Voting Restoration Amendment

BALLOT SUMMARY: This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case-by-case basis.

December 31 is the deadline to submit signed and completed Voting Restoration Amendment petitions to Supervisor of Elections offices around the state to get items on the November 2018 ballot.

The campaign to restore voting rights to nonviolent felons who have done their time and paid back their debt to society has a goal of 1 million petitions. The latest report from that campaign, at the beginning of November, is that it is three-fourths of the way home, with 750,000 signatures collected.

These final two months will be critical. Do you have time to help the campaign right a wrong that is as old as 1868, when felon disenfranchisement was first put into law in the Florida Constitution?

Petitions and clipboards are available at the Alachua County Labor Coalition office, 901 NW 8th St., Suite 1A, on Thursdays, 11am to 1pm and Fridays from 4pm to 6pm.

Email for further information from the local Say Yes to Second Chances campaign.

The following information about the amendment can be useful both when collecting signatures and when deciding whether to support the initiative.

General Information:

Approximately 1.7 million Florida citizens have lost the right to vote due to a felony conviction.

Florida is one of only three states, including Kentucky and Iowa, which imposes a lifetime ban on the right to vote, unless a felon who has completed all terms of sentence including parole or probation, seeks restoration through a cumbersome and lengthy process.

A person who has been convicted of a felony must wait five or seven years – depending on the severity of the felony – after completion of all terms of their sentence, before even applying for clemency to get voting rights restored.

Florida grants only 8 percent of restoration requests compared to 86 percent for Kentucky and 93 percent in Iowa.

Current backlog of the clemency process is over 10 years, so someone who today completes all terms of their sentence for a nonviolent felony would be extraordinarily lucky to be able to vote in 2032.

Restoration of voting rights gives nonviolent felons a second chance to become productive citizens.

Restoration of voting rights saves taxpayers money because it lowers the recidivism rate.

We are hopeful and optimistic that you’ll see it on the November 2018 ballot listed as the “Voting Restoration Amendment.”

Additional Information

Link to petition and additional information:


Link to additional information: 

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