Prior to the adoption of the Voting Restoration Amendment (known as Amendment 4), Florida’s criminal disenfranchisement laws were among the most restrictive in the country. In 2018, the SPLC joined a coalition of voting rights groups, led by the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, to support the passage of Amendment 4. This statewide ballot initiative reinstated the voting rights of 1.4 million Floridians – disproportionately people of color – who have felony convictions.
In 2019, the Florida Legislature introduced and passed Senate Bill 7066, which now requires people with felony convictions to satisfy all of their legal financial obligations (fines, fees and restitution) before they can register to vote. The SPLC filed a federal lawsuit (McCoy v. DeSantis) challenging the state’s enactment of an unconstitutional poll tax.
The SPLC is committed to expanding access to the ballot box for Floridians in 2020 and beyond. We will work to expand the state’s existing early voting options, including securing additional days, hours and locations. We will also support legislation that allows automatic and same-day voter registration and work to defeat bills aimed at expanding the state’s felony disenfranchisement law.