In November, 64.55% of Florida voters from all walks of life and political persuasions approved Amendment 4, the Voting Restoration Amendment. This reflects a shared belief that when a debt is paid, its paid. On January 8, 2019, Amendment 4 goes into effect.
Eligible returning citizens can register to vote starting on January 8, 2019.
With voter approval for Amendment 4, Florida has eliminated a 150-year-old Jim Crow-era law that disenfranchised more people in the state of Florida than the total population of many other states. The amended Constitution restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions, excluding murder or sexual offenses, after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation.
If you or a loved one is planning to register to vote, below is a list of helpful information. If you want to get involved in voter registration efforts, more information is available below.
Does the legislature need to write rules to implement Amendment 4? No. The legislature does not need to write enabling legislation. The amendment is self-executing. The State has conceded this point in its filing in the Hand v. Scott case. This means that, unlike what we may have seen after Fair Districts or medical marijuana were passed, the legislature does not have to do anything to implement Amendment 4.
What is the legislature’s role in Amendment 4 implementation? The legislature is responsible for oversight and funding of the government agencies responsible for administering the implementation of Amendment 4.
Do returning citizens register through the normal voter registration process? Yes. The existing voter registration form is adequate and sufficient to immediately register individuals impacted by Amendment 4. Question #2 of that form asks individuals to “affirm that I am not a convicted felon, or if I am, my right to vote has been restored.” Individuals can check this box in the same way that they affirm they are U.S. Citizens (see Question #1 on the State’s Voter Registration Application Form). Individuals may also register via the Florida Online Voter Registration System at https://registertovoteflorida.gov/
Do returning citizens need to bring proof of a completed sentence before registering? No. The responsibility of the citizen is to honestly affirm that, by completing the terms of their sentence, their voting rights have been restored – because, if they have completed their sentence, the voters’ rights have been restored.
What does it mean to complete all portions of my sentence? We believe that “completion of all terms of sentence” includes any period of incarceration, probation, parole and financial obligations imposed as part of an individual’s sentence. These financial obligations may include restitution, fines, and fees imposed as part of a sentence or a condition of probation under existing Florida statute. That said, fees not specifically identified as part of a sentence or a condition of probation are therefore not necessary for ‘completion of sentence’ and thus, do not need to be paid before an individual may register. These are the policies used by the Office of Offender Review to determine “completion of sentence” and therefore consistent with current state practices.
Where can I find more information online about whether I’ve completed the terms of my sentence? For more information, you can contact a number of state organizations including:
Amendment 4 goes into effect on January 8, 2019. The amended Constitution restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions, exluding murder or sexual offenses, after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation.
Starting January 8th, any individual with a felony conviction who has completed all of the terms of their sentence should register to vote by completing a voter registration form. Question #2 of that form asks you to “affirm that I am not a convicted felon, or if I am, my right to vote has been restored.” You should check this box in the same way you affirm that you are U.S. Citizens (see Question #1 on the State’s Voter Registration Application Form).
You do not need to submit documentation of completion of your sentence when you register to vote, however, you should gather as much documentation as possible to confirm completion of your sentence, or in case you may need to appeal a denial of your voter registration.
Print and mail the form: The statewide voter registration application form is available for download (English PDF/ Español PDF), or available at any county Supervisor of Elections, local library, or any entity authorized by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to issue fishing, hunting, or trapping permits.
Call 1-877-MYVOTE-0 (1-877-698-6380) with any questions.