Florida Gov. Ends Five-Year Waiting Period For Voting Rights Restoration

Floridians convicted of felonies will no longer have to wait five years after their release to vote following Governor Ron DeSantis’ move to end the waiting period. 

The change came on Wednesday (March 10) after DeSantis and state officials approved changes to the state’s clemency protocols, per a report by Tampabay.com. According to The Hill, people with felony convictions will still be required to pay the entire sums of victim restitution and other court fees to have their voting rights restored.

“I believe that those who have had their voting rights restored, it makes sense to restore the other civil rights,” the governor said, according to Tampabay.com. 

“We think that’s not only good for returning citizens, we know that’s good for the entire state,” a spokesperson for the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition said, per The Hill. The advocacy group pushed state leadership for the change. 

In the 2018 midterm election, the state moved to restore the voting rights of people who were convicted of felonies, after a ballot referendum passed. The next year, however, Republican lawmakers in Florida, including Governor DeSantis put the restitution payoff requirement in place, leaving many people still unable to vote. Advocates and Democratic lawmakers said the law was equivalent to a poll tax, but last year a federal court ruled it wasn’t

The advocacy group vowed in a Twitter post to continue fighting for “fair clemency reform for all returning citizens until we are all truly free.” 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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