Statement to be attributed to Demos President K. Sabeel Rahman
In November, a supermajority of Florida voters passed Amendment 4, which automatically restores voting rights for former felons and ends a discriminatory regime that robbed 1.4 million people of their fundamental rights.
The historic amendment—the largest expansion of voting rights in decades—is self-executing, and goes into effect on Tuesday, January 8. Demos is proud to support organizations like our partner, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), that have been working to re-enfranchise Floridians and to include returning citizens in the political process.
As Executive Director of the FRRC Desmond Meade says, “A more inclusive democracy is a more vibrant democracy, and a more vibrant democracy is great for everyone.”
Elections in Florida, the biggest swing state, are often decided by small margins. The addition of these previously excluded voters will make government more representative and more responsive to the policy preferences of the state’s true majority.
At the root of a healthy democracy is the ability of all of its members to be counted and to be heard. Anything less than this tarnishes who we are as Americans and must be rejected wholeheartedly as undemocratic and antithetical to our core values.
Even after Amendment 4 in Florida, almost 5 million Americans will not be allowed to vote because of felony convictions. State disenfranchisement laws disproportionately target people of color and low-income people. Demos believes all such laws should be repealed and voting rights should be restored across the country.
If you are a returning citizen in Florida, you can register to vote here.
If you need assistance or encounter problems registering, you can call the FRRC at 877-MY-VOTE-0.