MIAMI, FL – A federal judge today ruled that Florida’s process for rights restoration for people who have completed the terms of their sentences is unconstitutional.
ACLU of Florida Executive Direcor Howard Simon responded to the decision stating:
“A federal judge declared what Floridians have known for many years -- whether under Democratic or Republican administration, the process for the restoration of civil rights, including restoring the ability to vote, is a system that is designed to fail.
“There are almost 1.4 million Floridians who have completed the terms of their sentence and returned to our communities. Currently, with mandatory waiting periods before applying, a Board that meets only 4 times a year, and a backlog in the system, the average waiting time to get one's case just on the agenda of the Board of Executive Clemency is more than 16 years – and even once someone gets heard, many applications are denied because the hearings themselves are arbitrary.
The civil rights restoration system lack standards, changes with each new governor and cabinet, and puts the power to decide who can vote in the hands of politicians.”