The League of Women Voters Florida announced today that it will deploy volunteers throughout the state Tuesday to help more than a million ex-felons register to vote.
Most of Florida’s Supervisors of Elections have agreed to accept registrations starting Jan. 8 when Amendment 4 goes into effect. “Our role is to accept that form and process it,” said Mike Ertel, Seminole County Elections Supervisor who will be Florida’s next Secretary of State.
The amendment approved by voters last year with 64 percent of the vote is considered to be one of the most significant voting rights acts in Florida’s history. It allows former felons — except those convicted of murder or felony sex offenses — to register to vote.
“The League is thrilled to be working with our coalition partners as we approach this historic day,” said Patricia Brigham, LWVFL President. “The League has long stood for the voting rights of the excluded and we look forward to assisting returning citizens in exercising their constitutional right to vote.”
The League is partnering with organizations such as ACLU of Florida and the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to help with the voter registration process.
“Until now, Florida was the largest state not to automatically restore voting rights to most returning citizens,” Brigham said. “Throughout the year the League and its coalition partners will remain committed to offering suggestions to state leaders charged with the implementation of Amendment 4, in addition to researching whether returning citizens have completed their sentences.”
Previously, returning citizens seeking to vote had to ask the state’s clemency board, made up of the governor and three Cabinet members. The board has a backlog of more than 10,000 restoration of rights requests and as few as 400 a year are usually approved.