Poll: Florida voters want clear process for voting rights restoration

vote felon (Large)
Voters say the state should set up a database for felons to check if they're eligible for voting rights restoration.

Floridians think felons shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to have their voting rights restored, according to polling commissioned by the Secure Democracy Foundation.

The Tyson Group Poll asked likely general election voters whether the state should set up an easily accessible database for felons to check if they are eligible to become voters and found the concept was supported by 68% of those polled, with just 12% opposed.

The polling indicates more voters support clarity on the implementation of the rights restoration process than voted for it (64.5%) when it appeared on the 2018 ballot as Amendment 4. Additionally, 60% of those polled said Florida citizens with felony convictions should regain their voting rights “when they are no longer incarcerated.”

After the amendment passed five years ago, lawmakers passed an implementing bill that gatekept suffrage behind the payment of court fines, fees and restitution. Florida courts agreed with lawmakers that the ballot language specifying restoration would only be granted to felons who had completed “all terms of their sentence” meant satisfying those financial obligations.

However, the implementing bill did not set up any statewide system for felons to see whether they had any outstanding court debts or if the crime they were convicted of made them ineligible even if those debts had been paid — the amendment carved out people with murder or sexual assault convictions.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has put the onus on felons and county Supervisors of Elections to determine whether a felon qualifies for voting rights restoration and created a law enforcement agency to prosecute ineligible voters even if their local Supervisor allowed them to register.

Despite the desire for clarity, 74% of voters say it is vital that the state spend tax dollars to investigate and prosecute suspected voter fraud. The support comes despite 49% of those polled saying they did not believe there was either no voter fraud in 2020 or so little of it as not to matter.

A further 28%, including 49% of Republicans, said major fraud impacted the results — former President Donald Trump won Florida convincingly — while 11% of voters said there was “significant fraud, but it had no impact on the results.”

The same poll also measured voter trust in elected officials, finding broad support for poll workers (75%-5%) and county Supervisors of Elections (73%-8%). A majority also trust lawmakers (54%-20%) and the Governor (52%-37%).

A plurality of voters said they were “not sure” whether they trusted Secretary of State Cord Byrd, who oversees the Division of Elections. Byrd did fare well among those who expressed an opinion, however, with 40% saying he is trustworthy and 15% saying he is not.

The Tyson Group poll was conducted Nov. 27-29. It had a sample size of 1,000 likely General Election voters and a margin of error of +/-2.95 percentage points.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


  • Richard Russell

    December 21, 2023 at 9:33 am

    Crime in Twenty-First Century is now accepted as just part of ones normal life process.
    As a child growing up in the 1950′-60′ I was fully aware of the cautionary statement: Don’t commit a crime and get convicted as a felon or you will forever lose the “right to vote”!
    The right to vote was reserved for those American “Legal” citizens who honored the Constitution and did not commit crimes, especially any that rose to a felony.
    Soon the Democraps will be allowing illegal aliens who wish to do harm to America, at every opportunity, the right to vote! How is that preserving the Constitutional Republic of our Founders?

    • Who Can It Be Now

      December 21, 2023 at 4:18 pm

      “…illegal aliens who wish to do harm to America, at every opportunity…”
      Whew! Nothing paranoid about that. How do you sleep at night?

    • Silly Wabbit

      December 24, 2023 at 12:50 pm

      You kwazy.

    • Mr. Haney

      December 29, 2023 at 8:29 am


  • Domino

    December 21, 2023 at 1:30 pm

    Committing multiple felonies in multiple counties does get complicated.

  • Dont Say FLA

    December 22, 2023 at 4:39 pm

    Why go to all that trouble when they could just exempt Trump and Rhonda from the “felons can’t vote” law?

  • Earl Pitts "Sage Voting Rights Scholar Emeritis" American

    December 22, 2023 at 8:25 pm

    Good Afternoon Dook 4 Brains Lefty’s,
    No ….. not just no:
    HEII to the NO.
    Florida does not need to spend money on seeing if ex felons might be eligable to vote.
    Have you Leftist Idiots lost your ever loving minds??????
    What about individual responsability????
    It works like this:
    1.) Felon gets out of prison.
    2.) Ex Felon contacts State about restoring voting rights.
    All is legal and good best of all the State does not spend more money on ex-felons chaseing them down to see if they want to vote. Its the ex felon’s responsability…. not the States responsability.
    Y’all are freakin idiots.
    Thank you freakin idiots,
    Earl Pitts American

  • Ron Forrest Ron

    December 23, 2023 at 11:05 am

    If Floor Duh were to allow for felons to know whether they’re eligible to vote using the voter registration card issued to them by the Ron DeSantis administration, then Rhonda couldn’t spring his widdle trap and cry “voter fraud’ when people go and vote using the voter registration card issued to them by State of Floor Duh.

  • tom palmer

    December 23, 2023 at 3:37 pm

    Legislative incompetence and indifference to the will of the people are behind the lack of a database. If some big political donor needed a state database for something, they would hold a special session to make it happen.

    • Flash Light

      December 25, 2023 at 5:12 pm

      So true.

    • TJC

      December 30, 2023 at 8:23 pm

      “Incompetence and indifference” is a nice way to put it compared to willful and devious, because in my view that’s why there is no database. They don’t want Black men voting, period. They suspect Black men will vote for Democrats, and the more they try to restrict minority voting rights, the more that will be true.

  • Jason

    January 3, 2024 at 11:25 pm

    I do not believe the right to vote should be taken from anyone, for any reason. So long as they are alive and subject to the laws of the land, it is tyranny to block them from having some say in the laws which affect them or their families.

Comments are closed.


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