Was I making this up or did we as an electorate in Florida pass amendment 4? You know, the constitutional amendment allowing nonviolent felons who have completed their sentences to vote again. As much as that seems like a liberal fever dream, I’m pretty sure that actually happened. But then the Florida legislature did what now?
WELL, wouldn’t ya know it, they decided to add some stuff. They passed a bill that: changed the voter registration form so it’s extra special confusing, made the supervisor of elections responsible for determining voter eligibility and holding a hearing on the matter if necessary (pretty tough to do without a database that centralizes the various information you need from the Florida Department of Corrections, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, etc. but OH WELL), and very significantly — made fees and costs a part of one’s sentence, meaning that guess what. You have to pay back the money you owe in court costs, fees and restitution before you can vote (oh, the clerk of court may or may not be able to tell you what you owe, good luck!). The ACLU et. al. are suing, and calling it a “poll tax” because… um… that’s what it is. It all adds up to, as presiding federal Judge Hinkle put it: “an administrative nightmare.”
Y’all, go check Article VI, Section 4 of our State Constitution (that’s where Amendment 4 lives now). I dare you, go ahead. That stuff is NOT there. There are a lot of moving parts to this thing and a lot to be upset about. But I am downright PEEVED that our representatives feel like they can just ignore us. If I ignored my boss, I am pretty dang sure I would I get fired. Can you imagine?
“Nicole, can you stay late next Tuesday?”
“Sure, no problem! But you meant leave early this Friday, right?”
“No, I definitely meant stay late…to help out, you know, because of those deadlines? Next Tuesday.”
“Got it. I will leave at 12:30 SHARP on Friday. You’re welcome!”
Please read more about this dumpster fire here and here. Then call your representative and remind them who employs whom. Last but not least, check out how you can help with the folks who started it all: Florida Rights Restoration Coalition.