I’ve been researching the amendments and wasn’t finding what I wanted in a single place, so I decided to write up what all I found in this blog. Enjoy!
My take: I’m voting YES on this amendment because I believe the current process is discriminatory and subject to the mood of the governor. To summarize the below, it has lots of supporters, few opponents. Numerous Democrats support it, but interestingly I could only find two Republicans opposing. That said, I didn’t find any Republicans stating their support for the record – they seem to be staying quiet on this one. The organizations that support it range from liberal to libertarian to conservative, and just two organizations oppose it.
What the amendment does:
- Automatically restores voting rights for people with prior felony convictions upon completion of their sentences, including prison, parole, and probation.
- Except those with murder or felony sex offense convictions. This amendment does not restore voting rights to felons convicted of murder or felony sexual offense. These individuals would need to follow the existing process of petitioning the governor.
- While rights would be automatically restored, individuals would still have to register to vote like all other citizens.
- This changes the current process from being in the hands of the governor deciding who gets to have their rights restored to being an automatic process once sentence, probation, and parole are fully served and no pending criminal charges exist.
- It’s expected to restore voting rights to an estimated 1.6 million former felons in Florida who have completed their sentences who are currently are barred from voting.
- ACLU says the current process is discriminatory and that 1 in 13 African-Americans have lost their voting rights due to felony disenfranchisement vs. 1 in 56 non-black voters.
- ACLU also says that studies show recidivism is lower among people who are civically engaged, and argues that restoring voting rights helps encourage civic engagement.
Red or Blue issue?
- Passing this amendment would make Florida like 19 other states most of which are red states.
- Alaska (R), Arkansas (R), Georgia (R), Idaho (R), Kansas (R), Louisiana (R), Minnesota (P), Missouri (R), Nebraska (P), New Jersey (B), New Mexico (B), North Carolina (R), Oklahoma (R), South Carolina (R), South Dakota (R), Texas (R), Washington (B), West Virginia (R), and Wisconsin (B).
- Many Democratic politicians support this, which Republicans seem to be staying away and not weighing in. I could only find two Republicans who oppose it: Adam Putnam and Richard Corcoran.
- Over a dozen organizations liberal and conservative support the amendment, including ACLU, Florida TaxWatch, The Christian Coalition of America, and the Libertarian Party of Florida.
- There are two organizations opposing, one of which was created specifically to oppose the amendment: Floridians For A Sensible Voting Rights Policy.