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Voting restoration amendment in Florida excludes registered sex offenders

Amendment 4, which will be on Florida’s ballot in the upcoming November elections, is a voting rights restoration for felons initiative.

“yes” vote supports this amendment to automatically restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or — you guessed it — a felony sexual offense, upon completion of their sentences, including prison, parole, and probation.

Due to the exclusion of those with certain prior felony records, the Human Rights Defense Center opposes the amendment. According to, “Paul Wright, founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center, a nonprofit based in Lake Worth that advocates for progressive criminal justice reform, wrote the following in the Tallahassee Democrat:

The problem with Amendment 4 is that it perpetuates the discrimination and bigotry of disenfranchisement against a subclass of ex-felons – those convicted of murder or sex crimes. If Amendment 4 passes, it will enshrine into our state constitution discrimination against convicted murderers and sex offenders that will make enfranchising them virtually impossible. While some may point to the serious nature of their offenses, they have nothing to do with voting. The punishment of disenfranchisement does not fit the crime.

I was convicted of murder in Washington State in 1987 for killing a drug dealer during an armed robbery. In 1990, while serving a 25-year sentence, I started a nonprofit magazine from my prison cell which today employs 18 people to advocate for just, humane and fair criminal justice policies. I pay taxes, work to improve my community and am a productive member of society. But the backers of Amendment 4 would deny me the right to vote.”

The organization is available for information and for interviews.

Paul Wright, Human Rights Defense Center Director and Prison Legal News Editor

P.O. Box 1151, Lake Worth, FL 33460

Tel: (561) 360-2523; Fax: (866) 735-7136

Click here to sign a petition to restore voting rights for all Floridians.


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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  admin 1 week, 5 days ago.

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  • #47321 Reply


    I read about this just a few weeks ago. Should this ammendment pass as written, I think it presents an opportunity for a constitutional challenge. Of particular note, many “sex crimes” that can require registration are misdemeanor – nonfelony offenses. Meanwhile, the amendment returns voting rights to most felony convictions; seems a good argument can be made based on equal protection.

  • #47322 Reply


    I understand equal protection has been argued before with lititle success, however most arguments revolve around whether punishment (registry) is unfairly applied to one group. And, that argument typically gets diverted to the “it’s not punishement, because it’s a civil regulation” BS.

    In this case, however, the state is essentially granting very favorable 1st ammendment (right to vote) rights to all but SO’s. And, that fact, cannot be reasonably defended by the commerce clause. It’s discriminatory, and a violation. It’s not based on a felony; and, of course, it’s not based on reason.

    • #47694 Reply

      R Bishop

      There are many states that strip felons of their rights to vote, keep and bare firearms, hold public office to name a few. If the government wants to make felons second or even third class citizens, why should felons pay taxes? Kinda seems like a taxation without representation situation. What was it that the colonists did in response to that? Why is it that law makers feel that making such laws is anywhere close to what the United States of America would allow? Laws like this seem to me to be clearly anti American yet they are in place and being enforced. Is it not the job of SCOTUS to speak in a clear voice as to what laws are in violation of the rights of US citizens?

      I have done a lot of research into what the “founding Fathers” intended when they put together the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I can not see how the government has been allowed to go this far outside of what this country is intended to be.

      For any level of government to remove the right to vote from any non incarcerated american is crazy. For such laws to be allowed by Americans to continue is beyond insane to me.

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