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CRC Pulls Felon’s Right Proposal in Light of Ballot Initiative Suceeding

January 26th, 2018 by Jake Stofan

The Florida Second Chances amendment received more than 800,000 valid signatures, guaranteeing its spot on the November ballot.

Amendment 4 automatically restores a felon’s right to vote after they’ve completed their prison sentence, along with any parole or probation.

“Only restoring voting rights, not firearm, not jury service and not seeking office,” said clemency attorney Reggie Garcia.

Because the measure is on the ballot, Commissioners on the Constitution Revision Commission are pulling an identical proposal because it’s no longer needed.

 

“The people of Florida will final have the opportunity to decide the question for themselves,” said Commissioner Arthenia Joyner.

There are a number of proposals aimed at changing the clemency process in the Legislature. Sponsors of the CRC proposal want lawmakers to drop their proposals as well.

 

“We saw what happened this year when we had competing solar amendments. There was a lot of confusion no matter where you fell on the issue. So not to have any confusion that’s why we withdrew ours and we call on the Legislature to do the same,” said Commissioner Chris Smith.

Current policy, adopted under Governor Rick Scott, requires felons to wait at least five years before they can apply to have their rights restored. It’s not uncommon for the application process to take up to ten years.

 

“No future Governor will ever again play with the lives of those who seek redemption just because they can,” said Joyner.

Florida is among just three states that don’t automatically restore felon’s rights. It has the highest disenfranchisement rate in the country.

Amendment 4 would restore voting rights to an estimated 1.5 million Floridians.

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