Protect Amendment 4 in Florida

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Heather Cabral
Heather Cabral signed this petition

Amendment 4 in Florida is at risk.

Today, (March 19) the House Criminal Justice Committee passed a bill that could impact full implementation of Amendment 4, narrowing the language of those eligible to register to vote.

The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition is opposed to any Amendment 4 legislation that creates additional barriers to voting for returning citizens who would otherwise be eligible based on the passage of Amendment 4. We are hopeful that improvements can be made to this bill that secure bipartisan support before the next committee vote. 

After all, Amendment 4 passed with broad support from people all over the state and from all walks of life. Any legislation proposed should neither limit the rights created by Amendment 4 nor infringe upon the will of Florida voters.

FRRC is specifically opposed to the legislation passed by the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee because it will restrict the number of people who would otherwise be eligible to vote. The bill expands the definition of completion of sentence and allows non-judicial private and government entities to create additional barriers to voting. Among other things, the legislation seeks to:

●      Make it more difficult for citizens to qualify for Amendment 4 by broadening the definition of completion of sentence beyond what was previously established by the Clemency Board. (Financial obligations, such as court cost, fines, fees, etc., are not considered part of a sentence for the purpose of restoring voting eligibility)

●      Allow non-judicial private and government entities the power to create and influence completion of sentence even after the court has made a sentence final. (This would allow a government employee or an independent payee to attach sentence obligations after a judge has already imposed a sentence.)

●      Make extra-judicial financial obligations a determining factor on whether Floridians who would benefit from Amendment 4 would become eligible to vote. (This could include basic financial obligations like interest payments or late fees that were not a part of the original sentence, but simply the result of an inability to pay the original cost).

We invite all our friends, allies, and supporters to join us in calling on the Florida Legislature to respect the will of the people and fully implement Amendment 4 and not create additional barriers that would hinder Floridians from heading to the polls.