The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops announced support this week for Amendment 4, which offers rights restoration for reformed felons.
The Amendment would automatically restore felons’ voting rights after they complete their sentences, with murderers and felony sexual offenders exempted.
“Our belief in the transformative power of redemption is core to our faith. Amendment 4 provides the promise of redemption to folks who have paid their debts in full, and are ready to reintegrate themselves to society. It is time our state’s laws reflect this belief in second chances; it is simply the right thing to do,” the nine-man panel asserted.
If Amendment 4 were to pass, 1.4 million reformed Florida felons (one in ten potential voters) would have their rights restored.
Multiple polls in recent weeks suggest that the Amendment is on track to pass, with consistent expressions of support by over 70 percent of those surveyed.
Florida’s clemency process has come under national scrutiny. The clemency board (Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet) meets four times a year to consider appeals.