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League of Women Voters rushes to register ex-felons before July 1 deadline making it much harder

Lawyers will help citizens who have paid their debt to society register without incurring penalties.

The League of Women Voters is looking for lawyers to help citizens who were previously unable to vote because of felony criminal records register to vote.

The League launched a training program for attorneys and non-lawyer volunteers to help citizens who have paid their debt to society register to vote without incurring penalties.

The Florida Legislature passed an Amendment 4 implementing bill (SB 7066) that restricts ex-felons’ rights under the voter-approved constitutional amendment to restore voting rights. The bill requires such citizens to have fulfilled all financial obligations associated with their record including court fees, fines and restitution.

Opponents of the measure argued the bill subverted the will of voters who intended non-violent ex-felons to be able to register to vote after they had served their sentences.

If Gov. Ron DeSantis signs the bill, which he’s expected to do, the new law would take effect July 1. The state has no plans to pursue penalties on individuals who register to vote under Amendment 4 before the implementing bill takes effect.

The League of Women Voters is holding registration drives across the state on June 15 and 29.

The Florida Bar Association approved training, which will count for two credit hours of Continuing Legal Education.

The League is also soliciting any information about community events in which ex-felons eligible to register to vote under Amendment 4 might attend in order to reach additional eligible voters.

Training would be available before those events to assist lawyers in helping register voters.

Lawyer training for interested volunteers is available from 11:00 am until 1:00 p.m. at the following locations:

June 14

Gainesville, Civic Media Center

433 South Main St.

Gainesville, FL 32601

June 15,

Gainesville, UF Library West

1545 West University Avenue

Gainesville, FL 32611

Jacksonville, Beaver Street Enterprise Center

1225 West Beaver St.

Jacksonville, FL 32204

Orlando, Iglaesia Episcopal Jesus de Nazaret

26 Willow Drive

Orlando, FL 32807

Panama City, Law Offices of Peters & Scoon

Voter Registration Workshop (Lawyer training only, begins 10 a.m. Central Time)

25 East 8th Street

Panama City, FL 32401

Daffin Park

320 North Kraft Avenue

Panama City, FL 32401.

Rutherford High School Family fun day and cookout (Community arrives for assistance 4 pm – 7 pm)

1000 School Avenue

Panama City, FL 32401

Tampa

University of Tampa

401 W. Kennedy Blvd

Tampa, FL 33606

June 29, 2019

Tampa

University of Tampa

401 W. Kennedy Blvd

Tampa, FL 33606

Tallahassee

Tallahassee Urban League

923 Old Bainbridge Road

Tallahassee, FL 32303

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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