Poll indicates broad support for felon voting rights restoration initiative


Good news in a new survey of Florida registered voters for Amendment Four, the “Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative.”

At least in the early going, there is broad based support for the concept that felons (sans murderers and those convicted of sexual crimes) should have their rights restored once they serve their time.

71 percent of registered voters said they’d vote “yes” and 22 percent said they’d vote no.

The amendment would require 60 percent support to pass.

There is a party split in the numbers: 87 percent of Democrats would support the measure, with a mere 52 percent of Republicans backing the amendment.

All age groups are above the 60 percent threshold, though the 65+ voters surveyed are just at 61 percent.

“Amendment 4, the voting rights restoration measure, facing voters in the fall is so widely supported, even a majority of Republicans support it. What remains to be seen is whether or not an influx of money opposing this ballot measure will knock off enough support to prevent it from reaching the 60 percent necessary to pass,” UNF Public Opinion Research Lab pollster Michael Binder said.

Methodology: The University of North Florida (UNF), Florida Statewide Poll was conducted by the Public Opinion Research Lab (PORL) at UNF Monday, January 29, through Sunday, February 4, by live callers via the telephone, and calls were made from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 

The margin of sampling error for the total sample of 619 registered voters is +/- 3.9 percentage points. The breakdown of completed responses on a landline phone to a cell phone was 27 to 73 percent.

Staff Reports


  • Veralynn

    February 12, 2018 at 9:39 am

    No way

  • Christopher M. Kennard

    February 12, 2018 at 9:42 am

    This is a pivotal issue, given the very high number of American citizens in some states who politicians declared worthless due to felony convictions for a wide range of violations, ranging from assault to traffic tickets to cannabis arrests — all resulting in criminal prosecutions and prison terms, along with the loss of a citizen’s right to vote in some areas of the United States.

    Here, in Florida, a felony conviction for the vast majority meant the loss of voting rights and representation as a United State citizen for life! One of ten voters in Florida are not allowed to vote due to a felony conviction. One of five voters who are black have lost their right to vote for life, reflecting the intent of the old Jim Crow laws designed to stop black citizens from voting.

    In fact, the current Republican Governor, Rick Scott, immediately changed our Florida state laws back to the stone age when he first was elected in 2010, once again denying the right of felons to have their voting rights restored after serving their sentences

    The broad implications across the country and in certain states where the loss of voting rights is being contested depends upon which way the voters decide our nation will go in the next round of elections in November of 2018 . . . the Democrats belatedly awoke to a startling set of facts that they allege they did not know and for which they are not responsible — despite policies that helped to create the situation over the last few decades when they held political power on the state and national level. Hmmm!

    Republicans are more straightforward in their assertions over the years that “convicts” do not deserve a second chance to rejoin the larger community but must be an outcast from society for life . . . again, for minor crimes that were inflated to being “felonies” in order to shift the balance in elections to favor certain candidates.

    This effort went hand in hand with the two major political parties both gerrymandering election districts for illegal, improper advantage for their party’s candidates while eroding the civil rights and liberties of us all in the name of “political control”.

    Now, voters themselves have an opportunity to join the growing ranks of disenfranchised and aware voters who discover that neither the Democratic Party nor the Republican Party truly represent their interests, since they are now paid off by mega-wealthy political campaign cash and slush fund donors to only represent the interests of the wealthy class; that both parties have international connections to the corporate world.

  • david w.

    February 12, 2018 at 10:08 am

    they say its a “statewide poll” yet the methodology says it was 619 “duval county voters”
    I call BS on this poll. every other indicator I have seen about this subject suggests its closer to 50% support.

    • brigj

      February 12, 2018 at 5:56 pm

      I missed the “duval county voters” part. What I saw was results and methodology as available at http://www.unf.edu/coas/porl/2018FLSpringPoll2.aspx which says:

      * The sample of phone numbers was created through the voter file provided by Florida’s Division of Elections September 2017 update and selected through the use of probability sampling among Florida registered voters in the Florida voter file.
      * To ensure a representative sample being collected, the state was stratified using the 10 Florida designated market areas (DMA).
      * In addition, because of Miami-Dade County’s unique population, it was separately accounted for in its own strata, creating 11 strata from the 10 DMAs.

      • brigj

        February 12, 2018 at 11:13 pm

        I wonder about the “phone numbers from Florida voter file” part. Does the willingness to include one’s phone number with their voter registration information, roughly 35%, bias the population being sampled as more likely to vote YES than the 65% who don’t?

  • Dan

    February 12, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    Gee, I don’t hold too much thought about polls. Most prove out of touch and is based on desired results. I happen to agree with approving the Law because a citizen is always a citizen and should have all rights restored once they have completed payment for crimes including prison, fines, restoration & probation. However, some crimes deserve death or permanent probation.

  • Kristen

    February 12, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    Voting is a right as an American citizen. Its shameful to keep any American from voting.

  • Roger Clegg

    February 12, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    If you’re not willing to follow the law then you should not have the right to make the law for everyone else which is what you do when you vote. The right to vote can be restored but it should not be done automatically; it should be done as Florida does it now, only once the felon has shown he has turned over a new leaf. After all the unfortunate fact is that most felons will be returning to prison.

    • brigj

      February 14, 2018 at 12:52 am

      If/when someone recidivates, they lose their right to vote again, probably for a longer period of time.

      Holding that “most felons will be returning to prison” is not justification for disenfranchising those who don’t. It sounds like you are advocating collective punishment. All of government is controlled by voting, and disenfranchising people for life, regardless of the felony, is truly severe.

      You may not trust their judgment, but ex-felons have their own perspective and history that must also factor into the makeup and policies of our government. They have the presumption of innocence and the right to hold our elected officials accountable, by voting, just as you do.

Comments are closed.


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