Fla. Senate Committee To Hear Felons' Voting Rights Presentation

Feb 3, 2014

Clemens
Credit Florida Senate

The Florida Senate Ethics and Elections Committee chairman says he’s open to exploring legislation aimed at restoring voting rights to felons. Florida’s constitution permanently strips felons of rights after they’ve served their sentences.

Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) raised the issue in committee Monday. He says the state is disenfranchising a lot of people who have finished serving prison sentences—but it doesn’t have to be that way.

“I’m hoping that this is not a partisan issue. Again, with us being one of only three states, it seems like both Republicans and Democrats from across the country have agreed that once you serve your time we want to you become an active member of society," he said.

Clemens suggested felon’s voting rights could automatically be restored some number of years after their sentence was complete, assuming good behavior.

Committee Chair Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) says he’s not on board with the proposal yet—but he scheduled an informational presentation on felons’ voting rights for an upcoming meeting.