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. [Read more…] about Senate Democratic Leader Audrey Gibson to Governor-Elect Ron DeSantis: “As a constitutionalist, you should know better.”
Amendment 4, the voting restoration amendment on Floridians’ ballot this November, has received broad support from Floridians from all walks of life – including leaders from veterans, faith, business, and law enforcement communities from across the Sunshine State. [Read more…] about Veterans, Faith, Business, Law Enforcement Support Amendment 4
Amendment 4, the voting restoration amendment on Floridians’ ballot this November, has received broad support from Floridians from all walks of life – including key editorial board endorsements from across the Sunshine State.
Current Florida law excludes 1.4 million Floridians who have completed the terms of their sentence from voting for life. Florida is one of only four states with a lifetime ban on voting. Amendment 4 would restore the eligibility to vote to Floridians who have served their time and completed all terms of their sentence as ordered by a judge – including parole, probation, and restitution. The amendment specifically excludes those individuals who have committed murder or a felony sexual offense.
Sun-Sentinel stated, “The best of the proposals — Amendment 4 — owes to … the people of Florida, who signed petitions to put it on the ballot.”
Tampa Bay Times stated, “…felons who are able to reintegrate into society are far less likely to re-offend and wind up back in prison… Treating ex-offenders as full-fledged citizens is key to reducing recidivism, which saves taxpayers money.
Orlando Sentinel stated, “Here’s what’s wrong: Florida denies ex-felons the ability to vote after they’ve served their time. After they’ve completed probation. After they’ve made restitution… Florida’s current practice is un-American. It denies our fellow citizens a second chance. It denies redemption.”
Daytona Beach News-Journal stated, “Amendment 4, which restores voting rights and other opportunities to former felons who have paid their debt to society, was buoyed onto the ballot by hard work and hope. As many as 900,000 Floridians from across the state signed petitions to have it included on the 2018 ballot.”
Gainesville Sun stated, “Florida is at a crossroads when it comes to its criminal justice system. It can continue the status quo and pay the budget-busting consequences, or enact reforms that save money while making the state safer by reducing recidivism. Amendment 4 is one step in accomplishing the latter.”
Miami Herald stated, “This lifetime ban keeps people on the margins, unable to participate in the fullness of American life and long after they have paid their debt to society.”
Palm Beach Post stated, “Amendment 4 is on the ballot because of a longshot petition campaign that drew support … [from] a broad range of people. Among them are conservative evangelicals who believe the gospel smiles on second chances. And business people who grasp that restoring the rights of former felons will lead to economic gains for Florida, projected at $365 million per year, thanks to lower prison costs, less crime and improved productivity.
Florida Times-Union stated, “Those who have had their voting rights restored are one-third less likely to reoffend. The amendment would have a positive impact of $365 million to Florida’s economy…”
Tallahassee Democrat stated, “If we want ex-offenders to turn their lives around, we should do our best to let them fully return to society. If they reoffend and go back inside, they won’t be voting — but as long as they’re rebuilding their lives, why not let them have full citizenship? We’ll be voting “yes” on Amendment 4.”
Florida Today stated, “If the point of sentencing is to impose adequate punishment for a crime, why does Florida continue to punish former felons long after they paid their dues to society? Our state is one of four that don’t automatically restore voting rights to those who fulfilled their sentences.”
TC Palm stated, “Our state as a whole benefits when citizens who have completed their sentences can become productive members of society — and that includes voting. Moreover, Florida’s current clemency system, which gives full power to the governor and Cabinet, is broken and arbitrary.
Naples Daily News stated, “Florida is one of four states (also Iowa, Kentucky and Virginia) that still requires a board or designated officer to restore voting rights once felons have done their time.”
To learn more about the Second Chances Campaign, please visit secondchancesfl.org.
Pd. pol. adv. paid for by Floridians for a Fair Democracy, Inc.
Amendment 4, the voting restoration amendment on Floridians’ ballot this November, has received the endorsement of the nationwide criminal justice advocacy organization Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM). [Read more…] about Families Against Mandatory Minimums Announces Support for Florida Amendment 4
The latest bipartisan poll conducted jointly by North Star Opinion Research and EMC Research shows that 74 percent of Florida voters support Amendment 4—the Voting Restoration Amendment—on the ballot this November. [Read more…] about Latest Statewide Poll Finds 74% of Floridians Support Amendment 4
Amendment 4, the voting restoration amendment on Floridians’ ballot this November, has received the endorsement of the nationwide veterans group VoteVets. [Read more…] about National Military Veterans Organization VoteVets Announces Support for Amendment 4
Amendment 4, the voting restoration amendment on the ballot this November, received support from key Floridians from all walks of life, including a faith-based organization and a business chamber. [Read more…] about Amendment 4 Receives Key Endorsements
Following Florida’s Primary Election, voters from all walks of life pivot to the general election with renewed vigor and throw their energetic grassroots support behind passing Amendment 4 in November. As Floridians turn their attention to the General Election, the Second Chances Campaign will highlight real Floridians that will be impacted with the passage of Amendment 4. [Read more…] about Floridians Are Ready to Make History & Vote YES on Amendment 4 in November
The Second Chances campaign today announced statewide support from faith leaders for Amendment 4. Currently, 1.4 million people in Florida, who have served their time and paid their debts to society, are permanently excluded from voting. Amendment 4 restores a person’s eligibility to vote after they have paid their full debt to society, and gives them an opportunity for redemption and a chance to be full members of their community.
Faith leaders from across the Sunshine State teach lessons of forgiveness, redemption, and restoration, and are prepared to vote Yes on Amendment 4 in November. Here’s what faith-based leaders from all parts of the Sunshine State are saying:
Ash Mason is the former Chairman of the Christian Coalition of Florida. He said, “At my church we engage with everyone regardless of their past because we know forgiveness comes to those who seek it. Amendment 4 gives a second chance to our fellow community members who have repaid society.”
Bishop Keith Robinson leads the Miracle Deliverance Healing Revival Center, Church of God in Christ, which services the communities of Richmond Heights, Perrine, Naranja, and Homestead in Florida. Bishop Robinson said, “As Christians, we often celebrate people’s redemption stories. We celebrate people having a second chance. We rejoice as they grow and change from their old way of life. I think that needs to go beyond churches and beyond faith communities. Amendment 4 gives us this chance and impacts people in all areas of their life.”
Bishop Angel Marcial of the Church of God is based in Tampa, Florida. Bishop Marcial said, “El comprometimiento y la unidad son una parte integral de la fe y del camino que Dios ha dispuesto ante nosotros. Las personas que han cometido errores en el pasado deben tener la oportunidad de pertenecer de lleno a sus comunidades, una vez que han pagado completamente sus deudas con la sociedad. La Enmienda 4 otorga esa oportunidad y nos afecta a todos en nuestra comunidad.”
Translation: “Community engagement and unity are an integral part of faith and the path that God has set before us. People who have made past mistakes ought to have the chance to fully engage in their communities once they have paid their full debts to society. Amendment 4 grants that opportunity and affects everyone in our community.
Rabbi Gale Pomerantz serves the congregation at Temple Beth Sholom in Miami Beach, Florida. She said, “I believe that Floridians should vote yes on Amendment 4 because we all need second chances. As a rabbi, the premise of what we teach in Judaism is Teshuva – which means having a second chance, and Amendment 4 speaks directly to that. In November, we should vote yes for second chances and yes on Amendment 4.”
Chad Woolf is the Lead Pastor at Christ Community Church in Fort Myers, Florida. Chad said, “As a follower of Jesus, I have learned to trust God and trust in his forgiveness. When we make mistakes and fall down, we all have the choice to get back up. Amendment 4 is the second chance so many of our community members have earned by repaying their debts.”
Minister Danielle Joseph teaches at the Kissimmee Haitian Church of God in Kissimmee, Florida. She said, “I am a minister but, first of all, I am a Christian. I believe that God wants us to have a second chance with Him and throughout our lives. We are not meant to live within the consequences of sin forever, and redemption means that we paid the price and can start over. Forgiveness, redemption, and second chances – that is what Amendment 4 is all about.”
Pastor C. Marcel Davis is the Senior Pastor of Adoration for a New Beginning Church, which has campuses in Tallahassee and Pensacola, Florida. He said, “At my church, I talk a lot about the second chance that we have. One of the most joyous times we have as a church is when we celebrate baptisms. I would like that to apply, not just to a person’s spiritual condition, but to apply to every part of their life. Through Amendment 4 a person can work hard, do what is asked of them, pay their debt to society, and regain their eligibility to vote.”
Pastor John Daniels, originally from Havana, Florida, leads the Outpouring Orlando Church. Pastor Daniels said, “As a Christian, I think Amendment 4 is an important issue. The Gospel teaches us that we are all guilty of sin but Christ died for His own. He redeemed us and therefore we benefit by having a second chance. Amendment 4 offers redemption, restoration, and ultimately, a second chance.”
Bishop José Renato Ramos serves the Church of God House of Refuge in Miami Gardens, Florida. Bishop Ramos said, “La Enmienda 4 es importante porque afecta a gente de todas las maneras de vivir. Como pastor, yo tengo la ocasión de pasar tiempo con las personas durante sus momentos más íntimos y vulnerables. Bien sea que sean ricos o pobres, bien educados o sin educación, independientemente de su raza, su género o sus creencias, la gente comete errores y toma decisiones equivocadas. Es importante que ofrezcamos perdón a aquellos que ya han pagado por su error.”
Translation: “Amendment 4 is important because it affects people from all walks of life. As a pastor, I get to spend time with people during their most intimate and vulnerable moments. Whether you are rich or poor, well-educated or have no education – regardless of race, gender or belief – people make mistakes and make poor choices. It is important that we offer forgiveness to those that have paid for their mistake.”
Ken Dewalt is a United Methodist pastor that retired to sunny Southwest Florida 4 years. He said, “Faith teaches us that God forgives those who make mistakes so long as they seek forgiveness and atonement. This is taught throughout the Bible and a lesson I taught when I was the Lead Pastor of Hope Church in Douglassville, Pennsylvania, and now try to exhibit as a retired United Methodist pastor attending Alva UMC near Fort Myers, Florida. It’s time for forgiveness to be realized. Vote YES on amendment 4.”
Lisa Fields is the Founder and CEO of the Jude 3 project based in Jacksonville, which helps the Christian community know what they believe and why they believe it.Lisa said, “Everyone makes mistakes, and people who have made a past mistake come from every possible background. I engage with people of many diverse backgrounds within my church and community every day. Amendment 4 would improve the lives of people from all walks of life.”
Pastor A.D. Lenoir leads the Westview Baptist Church in Opa-Locka, Florida. He said, “Because we live in a fallen and broken world, it sometimes translates into broken processes and institutions. But, that does not mean that we leave them broken. As a faith leader, my job is to try to encourage people and drive people to make the changes that are necessary. Florida’s system for restoring a person’s eligibility to vote is broken. Amendment 4 is an opportunity to make a broken system right.”
To learn more about the Second Chances Campaign, please visit SecondChancesFL.org
Pd. pol. adv. paid for by Floridians for a Fair Democracy, Inc.,
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Second Chances would result in positive economic impacts to Florida
A new economic study conducted by The Washington Economics Group (WEG) affirms that restoring the eligibility to vote for Floridians who have made past mistakes would result in positive economic impacts to Florida taxpayers totaling:
- An annual economic impact of $365 million
- Approximately 3,800 jobs annually
- An increase in annual household income of $151 million for Florida residents
Amendment 4—the Voting Restoration Amendment—is on the ballot this November. Amendment 4 gives Floridians who have made past mistakes the eligibility to vote after they have paid their full debt to society. Business leaders and civic leaders from across the Sunshine State agree – Now is the time to vote YES on Amendment 4 in November.
Carlos Fernandez-Guzman, President & CEO of Pacific National Bank in South Florida and Past Chairman of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce said, “In addition to it being the right thing to do, the passage of Amendment 4 will make Florida a more competitive state. Restoring the eligibility to vote for people who have made a mistake and paid their debt to society helps reintegrate them into the fabric of Florida’s civic and economic life, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs annually. That’s among the many reasons I am proud to join a growing number of business executives who back Amendment Four.”
Reverend Allison DeFoor of Jacksonville, former Monroe County Sheriff and former Vice-Chair of the Republican Party of Florida said, “Allowing citizens to earn back their eligibility to vote gives them a deeper stake in their community, making them less likely to reoffend. Passage of Amendment Four will make our communities safer and let us reduce spending on the criminal justice system. This is a win-win for Florida taxpayers and for all those who believe in the power of redemption.”
Florida taxpayers will see economic benefits from the passage of Amendment 4 because returning citizens who have their eligibility to vote restored are far less likely to reoffend and re-enter the justice system according the studies by the Office of Offender Review and the Florida Parole Commission. Since fewer returning citizens will reoffend, Florida taxpayers will pay less for prison and court costs.
Additionally, restoring eligibility reduces the “employment penalty” that makes it difficult for returning citizens to find gainful employment. WEG estimates that the impact on reintegration as a result of the passage of Amendment 4 would increase potential employment and income for eligible individuals who have made past mistakes. Thus, returning citizens who have their eligibility restored will have increased earning power, and disposable income, to give back to Florida’s economy.
To view the economic study, commissioned by the Alliance for Safety and Justice, CLICK HERE.
Michael Reale, Owner & Operator of Reale Investment Group LLC in Southwest Florida said, “Restoring a person’s eligibility to vote reduces the rate of recidivism. Over time, this decline would reduce the burden on taxpayers and result in a total annual economic impact of $365 million dollars. Amendment 4 promises to provide economic growth to Florida for many years to come.”
Dick Batchelor, CEO of Dick Batchelor Mangement Group in Central Florida said, “Citizens who have their eligibility to vote restored will have increased chances at finding gainful employment and disposable income to give back to Florida’s economy. Amendment 4 would do more than just re-enfranchise people who have earned eligibility—it would also reintegrate them into society and Florida’s economy.”
Seretha Tinsley, Past President of the Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce in Polk County said, “Returning citizens who vote are less likely to re-offend than those who don’t vote. Passing Amendment 4 would save thousands of taxpayer dollars and help people become responsible citizens with increased earning power—all factors that contribute to creating safer communities and a robust economy.”
The economic study comes on the heels of a new bipartisan poll conducted jointly by North Star Opinion Research and EMC Research shows that nearly three-quarters of Florida voters support Amendment 4 – regardless of party, gender, race, or region of the Sunshine State.
Amendment 4 restores the eligibility to vote of Floridians with felony convictions only after they complete all terms of their sentence and pay their full debt to society – including parole, probation, and restitution, if imposed by a judge. Those convicted of murder or felony sexual offenses will not be eligible under Amendment 4.
To learn more about the Second Chances Campaign, please visit SecondChancesFL.org.
About The Washington Economics Group
Founded in 1993 in the City of Coral Gables, The Washington Economics Group is a boutique economic consulting firm specializing in comprehensive economic solutions for businesses. For more information, visit weg.com.
About The Alliance for Safety and Justice
Alliance for Safety and Justice is a national criminal justice reform organization that works with crime survivors and aims to win new safety priorities in states across the country. For more information visit allianceforsafetyandjustice.org or @SafeandJustUSA.