Felony Disenfranchisement in Florida

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In the State of Florida, persons convicted of a felony are stripped of their voting rights in addition to other sentencing. This restriction lasts for life, and the right can only be restored through special permissions from both the governor and the state clemency board.[1] This practice is known as felony disenfranchisement and it is a common punishment across the United States, being law in 48 states (not practiced in Vermont and Maine)[2]. However, Florida is one of only twelve states that bans convicted felons from voting post-sentence and one of only four that maintains that ban for life.

History[change | change source]

Florida’s constitution was ratified in 1838 and with that felony disenfranchisement was established in Florida. Article VI section 13 of the original state constitution states, “Laws shall be made by the General Assembly, to exclude from office, and from suffrage, those who shall have been or may thereafter be convicted of bribery, perjury, forgery, or other high crime, or misdemeanor.”[3] This law took effect in 1845 when Florida became a U.S. State and remained largely intact despite notable wording changes in 1868 and 1968 until 2007. In 2007, governor Charlie Crist amended the rules for executive clemency to permit felons to vote upon the completion of their full sentences.[4]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Statutes & Constitution". www.leg.state.fl.us. Retrieved 2018-04-10.
  2. "Felony Disenfranchisement Laws in The United States". The Sentencing Project. Retrieved 2018-04-10.
  3. "Florida Constitution of 1838". fall.fsulawrc.com. Retrieved 2018-04-10.
  4. "Historical Timeline - Felon Voting - ProCon.org". felonvoting.procon.org. Retrieved 2018-04-10.