On Nov. 6, the people of Florida made an important decision: former felons who have served their time and paid all other dues (including satisfying probation) will have their voting rights automatically restored, with the exception of those who have committed murder or sex crimes.
The “Yea” on Amendment 4 was a pivotal decision in the state and impacted several residents of the state, where 1.5 million were previously ineligible to cast a vote due to what was once a tricky and lengthy process.
Florida election officials are supposed to start registering these returning citizens on Jan. 8, but apparently there is some confusion about how exactly to go about ensuring that everyone would have the right to vote.
According to WTSP, local election officials are requesting guidance from the state as to how to go about implementing the law, but so far have received to direction.
One local official told the news site that although they plan to push through with registering returning citizens on the expected date, there are concerns about fraud and confusion. There’s only one box that voters need to check on their registration application that reads, “I affirm that I am not a convicted felon, or if I am, my right to vote has been restored.”
However, local officials say without further guidance or criteria, applicants’ words would be the only thing to go by, raising concerns that felons who aren’t eligible could possibly register, or may accidentally check the box if they don’t realize they haven’t reached eligibility.
That raises other issues, because if the box is checked without meeting the criteria, felons could be met with more felony charges for “lying” on their application.
WTSP notes that the Florida Department of State released a statement saying:
“Under the Florida Constitution, Amendment 4 will take effect on January 8, 2019. The Florida Department of State will abide by any future direction from the Executive Clemency Board or the Florida Legislature regarding necessary action or implementing legislation to ensure full compliance with the law.”
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