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Advocates Work to Register Ex-Felons on National Voter Registration Day in Florida

Returning citizens in Florida are participating in National Voter Registration Day on Wednesday.

Amendment 4 returned voting rights to ex-felons in Florida who have completed their sentences and paid court fees. 

The supporters of Amendment 4 intended it to restore voting rights to more than one million ex-felons in Florida. 

But Ricardo Negron of Orlando’s Latino Justice says the law can be confusing when it comes to determining when a person is actually eligible to vote.

That’s why volunteer attorneys at the organization are holding free one-on-one consultations. 

“We will schedule an intake and go over with them. So on a case-by-case basis, we’ll study any documentation that they can provide or point them in the direction where they can acquire this any documentation that they may need.”

Negron says the consultations will continue up through the 2020 elections. 

Patti Brigham is President of the League of Women Voters of Florida. 

She says her group is training volunteer attorneys who are also providing legal help.

“The League has created this approved training for volunteer attorneys and other non-lawyer volunteers to help those with felony convictions register to vote. We’re doing these seminars across the state.”

Brigham says the League has already offered this continuing education to attorneys in Lee County and St. Petersburg County. 

Under the law signed by Governor Ron DeSantis, an ex-felon must have completed their sentence and paid all their court fees before registering to vote. 

Voting rights advocates filed a lawsuit, saying this amounts to a poll tax. The Florida Supreme Court will consider whether the law is true to the language of the original amendment, with opening arguments set for November. 

If you’d like to listen to the story, click on the clips. 

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter & Fill-in Host

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, ... Read Full Bio »