Senate Democratic Leader Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville) on Thursday took issue with Governor-elect Ron DeSantis’ statements that Amendment 4, which automatically restores ex-felons’ voting rights, needed an act of the legislature in order for voter registrations to commence early next month.
“As a self-proclaimed ‘constitutionalist,’ Governor-elect DeSantis should know better,” said Leader Gibson. “Amendment 4 was and continues to be self-executing. It was endorsed by 64 percent of the voters, an overwhelming margin much greater than the 49.7 percent by which he won his own election to the governor’s office. And it is now a part of the constitution he will be obliged to uphold.”
Leader Gibson pointed out that nowhere in the amendment was there a reference to implementation language required by the legislature, such as was contained in other amendments also passed by Floridians like Amendment 12, ‘Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers.’
“Once again, disenfranchisement and voter suppression rear their ugly heads from within the governor’s office,” said Leader Gibson. “It appears Governor-elect DeSantis is following the lead of his predecessor, whose efforts to purge legitimate voters yielded little more than embarrassing results.
“The voters backed Amendment 4 with the full expectation that all elements would be in place to allow ex-felons to register to vote once the amendment takes effect on January 8, 2019, just as they expect him to fulfill his constitutional obligations and carry out the will of the people when he is sworn in as governor on the same day.”