Pro Bono News

Ex-Offenders Will Get Help Registering to Vote (FL)

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Ex-Offenders Will Get Help Registering to Vote

"Saying that he wants to ensure that the maximum number of felons get to exercise their newly earned right to vote in Florida, a former Democratic state legislator has created a program to ease their voter registration process.

Sean Shaw, who served in the Florida House between 2016-2018 and was the Democratic nominee for attorney general last year, said Wednesday that his recently formed progressive non-profit advocacy organization, People Over Profits, has put together a legal aid network of volunteer attorneys in some of the state’s biggest regions to help felons navigate the registration process.

Floridians overwhelmingly passed Amendment 4 last fall at the ballot box. The constitutional amendment automatically restored voting rights to an estimated 1.4 million people with a past felony conviction. But the bill signed June 28, by Gov. Ron DeSantis implementing the law has been met with a flurry of lawsuits, because it restricts those eligible to vote to felons who no longer owe any fines, fees or restitution to victims.

The ballot language itself only said that all felons — with the exception of those who committed murder or sexual felony — could be eligible to vote. But supporters of the measure said during the campaign for Amendment 4 last year that completion of a criminal sentence did include paying off fines, fees and restitution. They balked, however, when members of the Republican-led Legislature insisted on including those caveats in the bill implementing the law. That’s led to four different lawsuits questioning the law’s constitutionality since DeSantis signed the bill..."

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