It’s not hard to let felons vote again
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