Surprising changes were made in Florida during last years elections (2018 ballot) – Amendment 4 was passed and goes into effect January 8, 2019. Amendment 4 restores the voting rights to all felons (except those convicted of murder or sex crimes) who have completed all conditions of their sentencing, such as probation or restitution. Starting January 8th, prior convicted felons are eligible to submit their application for voter registration and receive their voter’s registration card in the mail – just like anyone else.
Old Florida To The New
Florida was, until now, the largest state that did not automatically restore voting rights to felons who had fully served their sentences. Instead, they had to apply to the state clemency board (consisting of the Florida Governor and three cabinet members) to have their voting rights fully restored. Annually, the board received, on average, only approved up to 400 each year, but had a backlog of around 10,000 applications – possibly the result of meeting only 4 times a year.
Estimations put the total number of felons at 1.2 million who are eligible to have their voting rights restored this week and to finally be able to check the box that states, “I affirm that I am not a convicted felon, or if I am, my right to vote has been restored.”
It will still be up to election supervisors to continue to review applications for errors and registering felons should be advised that they may be required to submit supporting documentation that they have meet the standards set forth in the new law and have completed all terms of their sentencing including any fines, restitution, probation, and/or parole.
Consult A Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are unsure if you have already met the conditions set forth in the new law, it is advisable to seek counsel from a reputable attorney who is familiar with criminal law. Knowingly or willfully submitting a falsified voter registration is considered a third-degree felony and risking such a right is not worth the potential consequences.