On January 17, 2015, the Lake County Democratic Party endorsed the Voting Restoration Amendment. This proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution will hopefully appear on the ballot on November 8, 2016. It is sponsored by Floridians for a Fair Democracy, Inc., which has issued this statement:
As you may know, there are over 1.5 million Florida citizens who are currently denied the right to vote because of a prior felony conviction, and Florida is one of only three states in the country (FL, KY, IA) that categorically disenfranchise former offenders.
For that reason, a coalition of organizations is working to place an amendment to the state’s Constitution on the 2016 ballot that, if passed, would update Florida’s criminal justice system to match the standards in other states, so that after a person convicted of a felony completes all terms of their sentence — including parole or probation — they earn their voting rights back.
Not only does restoring a person’s right to vote give them an opportunity for redemption and a chance to be full members of their community, but studies by the Florida Parole Commission show that people returning from prison who can vote are less likely to commit crimes in the future. By helping people become responsible citizens, we create safer communities and save taxpayers money by keeping people from returning to prison.