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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 ballotpedia.org, “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 4 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  admin 2 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #47222 Reply

    admin

    Amendment 4, which will be on Florida’s ballot in the upcoming November elections, is a voting rights restoration for felons initiative. A “yes” vote
    [See the full post at: Voting restoration amendment in Florida excludes registered sex offenders]

  • #47321 Reply

    Glen

    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

    Glen

    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.

  • #48055 Reply

    James Taylor

    What do they think we are going to do once we have the right to vote???

    I agree that it is definitely taxation without representation!

    I am a business went. I have was released in 2006 and have worked my butt off to run my business dealing with the other discriminatory laws that prevent me from getting certain professional licenses. I have worked hard to help those around me like, my employees, customers (some are in law enforcement/corrections etc.. I have done everything I can to not even create the appearance of impropriety! I have paid my taxes and they are happy to take my money!

    But, they are not okay with granting me even equal rights! They place barriers in my way so that I can not move out of the country, and demand that I submit to their intrusiveness in my life!

    This is definitely descrimination pure and simple!

  • #48859 Reply

    citizen

    what do citizens do when their civil rights are blocked and they are marginally oppressed? They either shut up and deal with it, or they put up and protest. Show up en-mass and refuse to leave until you get what you want. Yes they will attack you. This is the way of things. Ask MLK if he would sacrifice all his comfort for the loss of civil liberties. I would bet he would answer in the negative, because he understood the value of human rights. When some one fights you, you fight back or deal with the consequences of acquiescence.

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