Felons

Florida’s campaign to restore voting rights to felons is gathering national media attention, and national financing. Now activists are trying to focus that energy to get the proposed constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot. WFSU reports on the grassroots campaign to gather 1 million signatures before the end of the year.

The American Civil Liberties Union is vowing to plow $5 million into a felon  rights initiative now that organizers have cleared initial Florida Supreme Court review

WMFE, Renata Sago

Hundreds of volunteers behind a campaign to restore voting rights to Florida’s 1.5 million ex-felons will meet Thursday in Orlando as part of a three-day conference hosted by the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. The group of attorneys, pastors, long-time voting rights advocates has been campaigning for more than three years to change a state law that permanently bars formerly convicted felons from voting, serving on juries, and taking the Florida Bar.

Fewer felons are getting their voting rights restored under Governor Rick Scott than in the past two administrations. Attorney Brittnie Baker said Scott has denied her clients the right to once again vote because of traffic violations or admitting they drank or used drugs.

Miami-Dade elections workers test ballot machines in preparation for early voting in November 2014.
MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Losing the right to vote after being convicted of a felony leaves six million Americans unable to cast a ballot in U.S. elections. A new report from the Brennan Center for Justice finds 1.6 million of those felons without the ability to vote are in Florida, whose only chance to regain the right to vote is a complex process that "in recent years has denied all but a few hundred applicants."

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