Fol­low will of the vot­ers

The Bradenton Herald (Sunday) - - Opinion -

I whole­heart­edly sup­port vot­ing “yes” on Amend­ment 4 and re­turn­ing vot­ing rights to well over 1 mil­lion Florid­i­ans. Some­one who has served their time and re­turned to so­ci­ety should be able to have ALL their rights re­turned. It is the right thing to do, the hu­mane thing to do, and the civi­cally re­spon­si­ble thing to do.

I worry, how­ever, that even if the peo­ple of Florida vote to re­turn these rights, the fight may not be over. I spend sev­eral months in Maine and have fam­ily that lives in Maine. I have seen what hap­pens when the vot­ers pass a ref­er­en­dum, but the gov­er­nor and leg­is­la­ture do not agree with it. Two years ago, the vot­ers of Maine said over­whelm­ingly that they wanted to ex­pand Med­i­caid to cover hun­dreds of thou­sands of Main­ers who lacked health cov­er­age. To date, the Repub­li­can con­trolled leg­is­la­ture has dragged their feet on im­ple­men­ta­tion and the GOP gov­er­nor has re­fused to fund the pro­gram.

When you vote “yes” for Amend­ment 4, please remember that a big part of the rea­son we must fight for rights to be re­stored to felons who have served their time is be­cause of the cur­rent GOP ad­min­is­tra­tion that has re­fused most of the ap­pli­ca­tions for the restora­tion of rights as it is cur­rently al­lowed. My fear is that if the Repub­li­cans re­main in con­trol of the leg­isla­tive and ex­ec­u­tive branch of Florida’s gov­ern­ment, there will be no im­ple­men­ta­tion of this amend­ment, even if it is passed by a ma­jor­ity of vot­ers. Just remember how long it took to have med­i­cal mar­i­juana avail­able af­ter vot­ers ap­proved that bal­lot ini­tia­tive. Vote for Democrats who will fol­low the will of the vot­ers with re­spect to vot­ing rights.

Jenni Casale


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