Florida is looking to return voting rights to ex-felons who had served the time for their crime, and back to the community. This means that 1.7 million Floridians might be getting the good news of voting for their preferred candidate after serving time, and back to their communities.
Florida is one of the state that was won by Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential elections. He won the state by 120,000 votes, and it was one of his biggest wins in the election. In one case of voter suppression in the US, the law in Florida banned ex-convict from voting in the state for life.
Two grassroots activist groups, Floridians for a Fair Democracy and Florida Rights Restoration Coalition are now asking the law to be removed from the state. The group has now started a petition to be able to create a ballot initiative in November 2018 that will help restore voting rights for the ex-felon.
According to Jen Tolentino of Rock the Vote, who has been one of the supporters of the new initiative, Jen said;
These individuals have all done their time, they’ve paid their debt, and it’s the right thing to do. Once somebody has served their time, they should have the ability to actually be reintroduced to our community and participate in a meaningful way.
Also, Desmond Meade, who is leading the statewide campaign to re-enfranchise ex-felons said;
If you have a car note or a mortgage payment, once you pay that last payment, you don’t expect to keep getting a bill in the mail. These folks paid their debt years and years ago, yet they’re still being made to pay on the debt that they’ve already paid in full
In the last election cycle, Desmond Meade wife ran for office, but he could not vote for her, because in 2004, Meade was released from prison. After his release, he faces homelessness, suicidal impulses, drug addiction, but at a point, he decided to go back to school, and from there, he studied law, in the hope of helping the public.
He has since tried to fight the system, and ask for clemency by appealing to the governor, but he was denied. Even though he had done his time, and back to the community, the community does not look like it is welcoming Meade.
According to historians, the felon disenfranchisement laws were drafted to suppress black voters who had just won the right to vote in political elections.The original law of the disenfranchisement laws was supposed to cover some felonies that are likely to be committed by blacks, while it excludes felonies that are likely to be committed by whites.
Though the states have argued that the law was only in place to let people not commit crime, since they might think of losing their voting rights, but experts have claimed that this has not helped in reducing crime.
At the progress of this initiative, activists are positives not only about getting the initiative on the ballot, but winning the right to vote in November.