Under the bill passed last month by the Florida Legislature, felons must prove they’ve paid all fees and fines connected with their crime before they can regain the right to vote. But Leon County Clerk of Court Gwen Marshall says the big problem is no way now exists to prove all payments have been made.
“Right now FDLE [the Florida Department of Law Enforcement] has a database they’re working on. The Clerks’ Association also has a database they’re in the process of developing. But it hasn’t been determined which agency is going to take the lead and all of this is unfunded,” she stressed.
So if the bill does become law, Marshall asserted it may take quite some time for the state to come up a system that fulfills its requirements.
“We still don’t have a comprehensive database that has all this information in place, so that’s going to be our biggest challenge in this implementation. In my opinion, we may have to wait a couple of years and get it back on the ballot and go back to the voters for better clarity on what they see the bill being implemented and what (was) the original intent.”
Governor DeSantis has yet to sign the bill on Amendment Four, although he’s indicated he will. Marshall gave her analysis to a joint class of advanced law, public policy and social work students the evening of May 29 at Florida State University.