90.7 WMFE and 89.5 WMFV are Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming and Classical Music. Part of the community since 1965, providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

Florida Rights Restoration Coalition’s Neil Volz Says Barriers Still Exist Between Returning Citizens and the Ballot Box

Photo: Neil Volz


The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition says there’s financial barriers stopping returning citizens in the state from participating in this National Voter Registration Day.

Returning citizens who have completed their sentences are allowed to vote in Florida under Amendment 4, but they must pay all required fines and legal fees first.

Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Director Neil Volz, a returning citizen and voter himself, says these financial obligations are keeping hundreds of thousands of voters like him from the ballot box.

Volz says many simply can’t afford to pay these fees. 

“You know us. We live on hope. So we also feel like we’re in this Dickens novel. Right? Where on the one hand we’ve seen the largest expansion of democracy in 50 years happen here in our state. And on the other hand there are real-world challenges for many, many people who simply want to have their voice heard in their community and we know what that can do for communities all across the state when we allow that to happen.”

Volz says there are also many more returning citizens who are paid in full, but can’t get an assurance from the state that they’re now eligible to register to vote.

“We don’t have a statewide system that can provide assurances to returning citizens in real time. So one of the things that we have is. We actually have a call center and an attorney assistance program. So that returning citizens can reach out to FRRC. We have people available to help on a one-on-one basis.”

Volz says ahead of the 2020 election, the group helped to register some 40,000 returning voters in the Sunshine State.

Register to vote here (registrarse para votar aqui).


Get The 90.7 WMFE Newsletter

Your trusted news source for the latest Central Florida news, updates on special programs and more.

GET THE LATEST
Stay tuned in to our local news coverage: Listen to 90.7 WMFE on your FM or HD radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” and you’ll be connected.

WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity

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 »

TOP