Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Releases 2010 Candidate Report Card

Affiliate: ACLU of Florida
October 5, 2010 12:00 am

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of Florida
Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

CONTACT: media@aclufl.org

MIAMI – Today, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) released its nonpartisan “2010 Candidate Report Card,” which clearly outlines candidates’ positions on restoration of civil rights (RCR.) Candidates for Governor, Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer and Commissioner for Agriculture and Consumer Services were asked to state their positions on a number of RCR issues, including whether they support additional reforms to the current RCR process. Many candidates disclosed their positions, although gubernatorial candidates Rick Scott and Alex Sink have yet to publically state their positions on this important issue for Floridians.

You can download the full report in PDF here: restorerights.org/

Florida continues to bear the unfortunate distinction of being the state with the largest population of citizens disfranchised due to a past felony conviction. According to the most recent data by Jeff Manza and Christopher Uggen, close to 1.2 million Florida citizens remain disfranchised. Of those individuals, approximately 950,000 have completed all terms of their sentences and are serving an unjust second sentence. As a result, nearly one million Floridians will be excluded from participating in the general election on November 2, 2010.

“As hundreds of thousands of disfranchised Floridians are kept from participating in yet another pivotal election cycle, RCR reform has attracted more poignant support and concern across the state of Florida. “How many more elections must the disfranchised sit out because the dream of truly automatic restoration remains deferred? More and more Floridians are asking this question and demanding an end to this unjust civil rights ban,” said Dr. Rosalind Osgood, Secretary of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and Staff Minister at New Mount Olive Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale.”

Florida’s Governor, CFO, Attorney General and Agriculture Commissioner serve as the Board of Executive Clemency and together they have the authority to make restoration of civil rights virtually automatic.

“With a few strokes of a pen on their first day of office, the Clemency Board can give a voice to the voiceless by changing the Rules of Executive Clemency. Now is the time for candidates to go on record in support of civil rights,” said Muhammed Malik, ACLU Racial Justice and Voting Rights Projects Associate. “By making restoration of civil rights truly automatic, Clemency Board members will demonstrate their commitment to civil rights and improve our democracy.”

In Florida, a person with a felony conviction loses the right to vote, the right to hold public office and the right to sit on a jury until his or her civil rights are restored by the Clemency Board. Florida’s RCR process is complicated and costly to taxpayers.

The much-hyped 2007 RCR changes have fallen far short of the goal of expediting the RCR process for Floridians with nonviolent offenses. The FRRC encourages candidates to disclose their positions on RCR, so voters know where candidates stand on civil rights restoration when they cast their votes on November 2.

About Florida Rights Restoration Coalition

The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition is a coalition of over 75 national, state and local organizations dedicated to eradicating Florida’s Reconstruction era civil rights ban. FRRC member organizations host Restoration of Civil Rights (RCR) workshops, lobby the Clemency Board and the legislature for RCR reform, and create public awareness of the civil rights ban in Florida.

For information about the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, or to join the FRRC, call toll free at (877) 826-8682 or (877) U-COUNT-2, or visit www.restorerights.org.

By completing this form, I agree to receive occasional emails per the terms of the ACLU’s privacy policy.

The latest in Voting Rights

ACLU's Vision

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.

Learn More About Voting Rights

Voting Rights issue image

Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy and the fundamental right upon which all our civil liberties rest. The ACLU works to protect and expand Americansʼ freedom to vote.