Felon Voting Rights Restored

Jan 8, 2019

Felons registering to vote in Florida.
Credit Blaise Gainey / WFSU-FM

It’s Official. As of January 8th, felons who weren’t convicted of murder or a sex offense can now have their voting rights restored, as long as they’ve completed their sentence. Felons in Leon County started registering as soon as election offices opened.

Thanks to the passage of a constitutional amendment select felons can now vote in Florida.

Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley says this affects more than just the individual felon, "I think that it’s going to have a big on elections, certainly a very big impact on these folks lives. Once people serve their time and pay the penalties that the courts impose I think they should full restoration of their rights to help them become full-fledged citizens and that’s what were here to do. Trying to get these people in the system, get them registered, get them voting.”

Getting them registered is more than just filling out the paperwork. Governor Ron Desantis has said he believes the legislature needs to provide implementing legislation. Even with that news, Minister and Truck Driver Carlos Beverley is excited that the state constitution now restores his voting rights. He registered first thing Tuesday morning.

“This day’s a very big day for me because it makes me feel like, just gives me the opportunity to feel free again,” said Beverley.

He is among roughly a million and half million felons who can now vote. Earley says the state will have to verify all of the applications.

“What does need to happen is there needs to be more funding so that the state and ex-felons can look up the status of their court imposed sanctions, and make sure that they’ve completed all of the requirements that the courts imposed upon them so they can get their right to vote,” said Earley.