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Are You a Florida Resident Who Happens to be a Convicted Felon? Big Changes Are Here Regarding Your Right to Vote

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In your past, you made an unfortunate mistake that led to you incurring a felony charge. By the time you were sentenced, you likely knew the potential incarceration terms associated with your charge and you probably were not surprised if your felony conviction was accompanied by a prison term, even if you didn’t quite expect its length and weren’t looking forward to serving it. However, out of the many factors you contemplated about life after incarceration, one factor you probably never considered was the possibility that you could never vote again in the state of Florida even after you finished serving your time.

After all, Florida has historically been an anomaly in this area in contrast with other states. The overwhelming majority of states do not automatically strip a felon of his right to vote for the rest of his life. Barring other circumstances, Florida law has historically done so. In order for a felon to have the right to vote restored, he had to go through the strenuous process of applying for clemency. The reality of these stipulations was that over 10 percent of Florida’s voting population was disenfranchised. In other words, almost 1.7 million Floridians were prevented from being able to vote, a higher per capita number than any other state in 2016.

However, Amendment 4 is changing everything. If you are a citizen who happens to also be a convicted felon, you should understand what Amendment 4 means for you.

What is Amendment 4?

The Amendment, which voters approved during the 2018 midterm elections, is a ballot measure that recently expanded voting rights to more than a million convicted felons.

Did Amendment 4 Restore Voting Rights For Every Felon?

No, but it did for the overwhelming majority of Florida’s convicted felons. The only citizens who remain disenfranchised under the ballot measure are those who have been convicted of a murder charge or a sex offense. Otherwise, anyone who has been convicted of a felony may register to vote as soon as they complete their sentences.

What Impact Has Amendment 4 Already Had?

According to an article recently published by the Tampa Bay Times, citizens are already taking full advantage of Article 4. The same day it went into effect, over 200 people registered to vote in Hillsborough County. To put this in perspective, the county processed a total of 612 applications during the entire month of January last year. A third of this amount was matched in just one day in the short time Amendment 4 has been implemented.

Allow Us to Help.

If you have been charged with a crime or face the imminent threat of being charged with one and need to understand how Florida’s felony laws can apply to the facts of your individual case, it is imperative that you reach out to an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Donald C. Barrett, P.A. is the Tampa criminal defense attorney you want on your side to fight for you and help prepare you for whatever you will face in the future. Begin by scheduling a consultation today.

Resources:

felonvoting.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000287

tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2019/01/08/this-is-history-to-me-felons-in-tampa-register-to-vote-on-first-day-of-amendment-4/

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