Restore Voting Rights to ex-offenders in Florida who had rights restored under Gov. Crist
This petition had 3,691 supporters
In 2007, Florida governor Charlie Crist worked with the state clemency board to restore voting rights automatically to the numerous non-violent offenders who finished their prison sentence, parole, or probation. Under that law, over 115,000 non-violent offenders, living as free citizens, were restored the right to vote in state and federal elections. However, in his first years as governor, Rick Scott repealed this law and instead replaced it with an application system, with stricter standards of eligibility.
Of the 155,000 of those with restored rights, approximately 17,604 were not informed of their new freedoms. Of the thousands released each year, only about 20% of them are able to apply for restoration. Of those who do apply, only 5% of them are accepted. Additionally, the amount of those who should have been eligible for restoration but were denied is not reported.
Recidivism statistics show that 99% of all ex-offenders with restored rights of citizenship do not commit the same crime. Most of these former convicts attempt to live lives outside of the cycle of incarceration. Preventing them from living as a free citizen oppresses them and discriminates against them.
Further, the United States Constitution states:
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude (Amendment XV).
It is unconstitutional to deny the rights of those based on previous condition of servitude, in this case referring to their servitude as a prisoner. It is irresponsible for a supposed democracy to deny citizen's their right to vote.
By signing this petition, you are calling upon the Florida Office of Executive Clemency, as well as the Governor's Office of Rick Scott, to reinstate the precedent set by the former governor to automatically restore voting rights to all non-violent offenders upon completion of their sentence. It is fundamental to democracy that every voter's voice is heard.
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