Early voting is now underway in Florida. Voters are heading to the polls to cast ballots in local, state, and federal races.
Floridians also have a number of amendments to consider and one of the most important among them is Amendment 4–a ballot initiative that would allow people convicted of felony offenses to regain their right to vote.
Florida is one of ONLY three states–the others being Iowa and Kentucky–which permanently bar felons from voting.
Contrary to popular misconception, most convicted felons are non-Black; however, restricted voting rights impacts the Black community in a disproportionately significant way: its estimated that almost 1 out of every 4 African-Americans in this state are ineligible to vote as a result of a felony conviction.
That means nearly 1 million Black Floridians who have no voice in how their community’s tax dollars are spent, how their neighborhoods are policed, and it also means hundreds of thousands of Black citizens being prohibited from serving on juries.
And we all know how important that has been for our community:
And a felony conviction can result from offenses such as a second suspended driver license charge, failing to pay for or return a TV from a rent-to-own store, or even stealing a few cartons of cigarettes.
Amendment 4 would not allow the restoration of voting rights for former felons who have been convicted of murder or sex offenses.
Amendment 4 does not solve all our problems; but it helps re-empower people across the state who have paid their debt to society and are just asking for a second chance.
Again, early voting is now underway. So, please, Vote YES On 4!