Media Contact

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 13, 2018
CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office,, (786) 363-2737

December 13, 2018

MIAMI, FL – From ACLU of Florida Interim Executive Director Melba Pearson:

“Let’s be clear: In November, over 64 percent of Florida voters exercised their fundamental right to vote and took a stand for fairness and voting rights by approving the Voting Restoration Amendment 4. On January 8, Amendment 4 goes into effect. These are the facts.

“Now, Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis wants to stand in the way of Amendment 4 going into effect by asking the Legislature to pass an implementing bill, where in fact, Amendment 4 is self-executing and does not require the Legislature to pass implementing legislation. The role of our state lawmakers is their normal oversight of relevant state agencies responsible for administering the implementation of Amendment 4.

“On January 8th, the Secretary of State should begin to register individuals with felony convictions who have completed all the terms of sentence including probation and parole, not including those with convictions for murder or felony sexual offenses. Today, we sent a letter to Secretary Detzner on behalf of a group of civil and voting rights organizations with guidance on the steps his office should take to ensure Amendment 4 is implemented in a timely and smooth fashion. The role the Secretary of State should take should be administrative action to coordinate with relevant state agencies to provide guidance on proper administration of voting registration to this newly enfranchised population.

“After many years of failure by our state’s leaders to provide a common-sense solution to ending the disenfranchisement of so many of our friends, family members, neighbors and colleagues, Florida voters passed Amendment 4, a clear expression that Floridians overwhelmingly believe that when a debt is paid, it’s paid.

“A delay would be in direct opposition of the will of Florida voters. The only responsibility Gov.-elect Ron Desantis has right now is to direct state agencies to proceed without delay to register voters consistent with state law, including Amendment 4. He could go the extra step of demonstrating his leadership by encouraging legislators not to impede implementation of Amendment 4 with needless legislation.

“Amendment 4 is self-executing and should not be impeded or delayed. That is the will of Florida voters.”

A copy of the letter to the Secretary of State can be found here: