voting rights

WFSU News

Fewer felons are getting their voting rights restored under Governor Rick Scott than in the past two administrations. Attorney Brittnie Baker said Scott has denied her clients the right to once again vote because of traffic violations or admitting they drank or used drugs.

redjar via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/redjar/

Activists hope to have a constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot that would automatically restore voting rights to Florida’s felons. Now officials are looking at how the measure might affect the state’s bottom line.

Andrew Czap via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewczap/

Elections officials and activists across the country are celebrating National Voter Registration Day Tuesday. But the practice of signing up voters has a complicated history.

The Sentencing Project / http://www.sentencingproject.org/template/page.cfm?id=133

This Tuesday, Florida voters weighed in on who should be the next president of the United States. But some 1.5 million Floridians are left out of that voting process: convicted felons.

House and Senate Democrats are rallying around two sets of bills that would promote voting rights in the sunshine state. Legislators holding the meeting are 100% done with voter restriction.

Nick Evans

In a controversial ruling last year, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down core provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  But some Florida lawmakers are working to put those protections back in place at the state level.

Under the Voting Rights Act, jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination were subject to federal review before making changes to their voting laws.  But the Supreme Court said the law did not reflect current conditions and American society is far different today than it was when Congress passed the act. 

Clemens head shot
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.

Alan Crotzer served more than 20 years in a Florida prison for a crime he didn’t commit. A few years ago, the state compensated him for that wrongful conviction. But there was something Crotzer wanted more than just a financial payout and an official state apology: he wanted to vote.

“Once released, they did give me a voter registration card because I asked for it. It was the first time I ever had one. But two months later they revoked it. And I was very hurt by that. I felt I was a second class citizen.”