Victory in Florida: State Supreme Court Clears Rights Restoration Initiative for 2018 Ballot

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2017

CONTACT:  Ricardo A. Ramírez, 202.728.9557      
rramirez@advancementproject.org

 

Voting Rights Victory in Florida: State Supreme Court Clears Rights Restoration Initiative for 2018 Ballot

Florida – Yesterday, the Florida Supreme Court unanimously ruled to approve the language of a proposed state ballot initiative to restore the voting rights of people with past felony convictions. Florida is one of four states where a felony conviction currently results in a lifetime loss of civil rights. The Court’s ruling today clears the proposed constitutional amendment to appear on the 2018 ballot. If passed, it could help restore rights for more than 1.6 million Florida voters who are prohibited from voting. Advancement Project, a national racial justice organization, issued the following statement in response:

“This is a victory for anyone who believes in democracy and in the notion of second chances,” said Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director of Advancement Project’s national office. “For people of color, this is a particularly important victory. Nearly 1.6 million people in Florida – and one in five Black voters – with past felony convictions are still being punished even after repaying their debt to society. Unfortunately, keeping people of color from the ballot is less about public safety than it is about power. The law, which denies people who have already served sentences for prior mistakes is an outdated, is a discriminatory measure dating back to the era of slavery. It belongs in the history books, not in our laws.”

“At Advancement Project we are proud to support the bold work of Desmond Meade and the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, whose well-grounded work will lead this cause to victory.”

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www.advancementproject.org

Advancement Project is a multi-racial civil rights organization. Founded by a team of veteran civil rights lawyers in 1999, Advancement Project was created to develop and inspire community-based solutions based on the same high quality legal analysis and public education campaigns that produced the landmark civil rights victories of earlier eras.