It’s not hard to let felons vote again

Tampa Bay Times - - Opinion -

If state of­fi­cials are “un­clear” about restor­ing felons’ vot­ing rights and are threat­en­ing to wait un­til the Leg­is­la­ture can weigh in, per­haps they have not read the amend­ment the vot­ers passed over­whelm­ingly. The amend­ment was writ­ten to be very clear and is “self-im­ple­ment­ing.” This means that no leg­isla­tive ac­tion is re­quired. As of Jan. 8, all re­turn­ing cit­i­zens (in­di­vid­u­als with a felony con­vic­tion) are able to reg­is­ter to vote as long as they have com­pleted ev­ery­thing the court re­quired upon con­vic­tion (in­car­cer­a­tion, pro­ba­tion, pa­role and resti­tu­tion or fines that are a re­quire­ment of fin­ish­ing pro­ba­tion) and as long as they have not been con­victed of mur­der or a sex of­fense. The court clerks and the Flor­ida De­part­ment of Law En­force­ment know who these peo­ple are and can pro­vide that in­for­ma­tion to the su­per­vi­sors of elec­tions, just as they cur­rently pro­vide in­for­ma­tion about felony con­vic­tions.

So, here’s a thought: Just slightly change the word­ing of the se­cond box that peo­ple must check when reg­is­ter­ing to vote. The first check box says that I am a ci­ti­zen. I don’t have to prove that; they take my word for it (and, of course, run me through sev­eral data­bases be­fore adding me to the rolls). The se­cond box can say: “I af­firm that I am not a con­victed felon, or if I am, I have com­pleted all terms of my sen­tence (in­clud­ing pro­ba­tion and pa­role), and I have not been con­victed of mur­der or a sex­ual of­fense.” Pe­riod. Again, no doc­u­men­ta­tion needs to be pro­vided. The su­per­vi­sor of elec­tions sim­ply runs the per­son through the var­i­ous data­bases, sees that they have com­pleted the terms of their sen­tence and adds them to the rolls. It’s not rocket science. Let’s abide by the will of the peo­ple.

Jenni Casale, Pal­metto

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.