September 26, 2014

Candidates asked for positions related to policy that has shut approx. 1.5 million Floridians out of the democratic process; Gov. Scott, A.G. Bondi, and all other incumbent Clemency Board members refused to respond

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 26, 2014
CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office,, (786) 363-2737

TALLAHASSEE, FL –Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida, released the results of a questionnaire sent to candidates for Florida Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of Agriculture and Chief Financial Officer seeking their positions on policies addressing Florida’s lifetime ban on voting rights for people with past felony convictions.

The questions asked of the candidates – who are running for offices that constitute the Florida Board of Executive Clemency, the decision-making body that makes the policies for restoration of civil and voting rights for people who have had them revoked – sought information on how they would address Florida’s disfranchisement policy. The policy dates back to the Civil War era and has shut an estimated 1.54 million Floridians out of our democracy, accounting for roughly one fourth of the disfranchised population of the U.S. and roughly one fifth of the state’s African American voting age population, and has become the subject of international human rights scrutiny directed at the United States.

“The voting ban is the single biggest stain on Florida’s checkered voting rights record, and the people of Florida deserve to know how and whether the people running for offices that can impact that policy plan to do so,” stated ACLU of Florida Director of Public Policy Michelle Richardson. “We hope that Floridians find the information in the questionnaire useful in assessing how the people who seek to lead this state will address this crisis for our democracy.”

The questionnaire was sent to candidates on June 18th, 2014, the day of a previous Clemency Board meeting. All of the current members of the Board of Executive Clemency, which met again this week in Tallahassee, declined to provide answers to the questionnaire. In these cases, the ACLU of Florida has provided voters with public comments made by the candidates that address the issue of the voting ban and Florida’s rights restoration process.

The results of the questionnaire are available here:

# # #