Amendment 4 calls for an automatic restoration of voting rights for people charged with felonies who have served their time. Despite its unambiguous verbiage and a looming effective date — January 8, 2019 — a successful and statewide uniform implementation of Amendment 4 is still uncertain.
Some state leaders, like Governor-elect Ron DeSantis, are proposing some type of legislative action, because the current infrastructure lacks the proper tools to effectively support the voting registration of felons. This unfortunate hurdle could have been avoided if Florida lawmakers had made a stronger commitment to restoring felons’ civil rights and established a well-streamlined process. For years, the state’s civil rights restoration process has been plagued with backlogs and red tape.
When it comes to criminal justice reform, Florida tends to operate with a “not so fast” mentality — a pattern of behavior by policymakers who have consistently sidelined the need for comprehensive reform of the state’s criminal justice system.