Once again the Florida Legislature has earned a reputation of gutting citizen initiatives. This time, they have ignored the 5.2 million Floridians who voted for Amendment 4.
The Florida Senate passed a measure that would require repayment of financial obligations before felons’ rights could be restored. The financial obligations would be considered completed if they are paid in full, or if a judge allows felons to serve community service in lieu of payment, or the court “forgives” the restitution.
The bill puts the onus on the 67 different Supervisors of Election for determining whether each returning citizen with a felony conviction has completed their sentence. This duty has previously been carried out by the Department of State.
This legislation will cause returning citizen voter registration to come to a standstill. Once again Florida is imposing legislation that disproportionately punishes those with less financial means and has brought back the Jim Crow practice of the government placing barriers to the ballot.
Governor DeSantis has 15 days to sign this bill. If he does not sign it, it automatically becomes law. Contact Gov. DeSantis and make your voice heard (850) 717-9337.