The Florida Rights Restoration held a rally on the steps of the old Florida Capitol in Tallahassee with some 300 alleged felons participating, of which many have already regained their right to vote after Amendment 4 passed during the 2018 mid-term elections.
The rally was dubbed “Our Vote, Our Voice, Our Time” with many, if not most of the predominantly black attendees wearing “Let my people vote” t-shirts.
Floridians continue to wait to see if and when the Florida Supreme Court rules on whether to uphold Gov. Ron DeSantis' play to require felons to pay any outstanding fees or fines stemming from their incarceration before they are allowed to vote.
“We do not have to solely rely on the implementation of Amendment 4 to expand democracy in this great state. We do not have to rely on the implementation of Amendment 4 to expand opportunities for jobs that will stimulate our economy, which would allow us to carry our fair share of the tax burden. Right? Then that would allow us to create safer communities,” said FRRC Executive Director Desmond Meade.
The group’s focus on Tuesday was to target the clemency process.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the only Democrat holding statewide office, used her position on the Clemency board to press Gov. DeSantis to restore voting rights for felons she says have “paid their debt to society” by adopting rules submitted by the FRRC.
“For 14 months, I’ve called for new Clemency Board rules that, just like these, will swiftly restore rights for Floridians,” stated Fried “This could have been done in our first week, and the delay has been a missed opportunity by the Cabinet. These draft rules from the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition will eliminate the current backlog of Restoration of Civil Rights applicants, and prevent a future backlog.”
Fried urged DeSantis to take up these rules at the next Clemency Board meeting on April 8th.
“I’m urging the Governor and our Clemency Board colleagues to adopt these rules at our April 8 meeting, and begin once again restoring rights to those who have paid their debt to society,” added Fried “I also remain awaiting a response since January 15 from the Governor on the more than 600 applicants for Restoration of Civil Rights who are eligible without a hearing.”