Returning citizens: If you have successfully registered to vote, and have not received a letter from the State of Florida revoking your registration, you should be eligible to vote in this year’s presidential election.
Returning citizens resident in Hillsborough County: Confirm you are registered to vote with the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections: https://www.votehillsborough.org/Home/Amendment-4-FAQs
In the meantime, the Florida Rights Restitution Council (FRRC) has raised over $20 million to pay off fines and fees of felons who have completed their sentences. The money is targeted for felons who registered to vote while the law was in question and who owe $1,500 or less.
Go to https://floridarrc.com/fines/ to apply for assistance from the FRRC.
For the purpose of voter registration, only the amount of money listed when someone is sentenced applies. Extra costs, after the fact, like interest or late fees, do not need to be paid before registering to vote. This is called the “first dollar policy.”
Other useful links:
Free Our Vote has compiled information on behalf of many returning citizens, although not for every county. See if they have information about how much you may owe: https://freeourvote.com/pages/check_eligibility.html
The Clerk of Court in the county in which you were sentenced can tell you how much you may owe. Contact information at the Florida Court Clerks and Comptrollers’ website: https://www.flclerks.com/page/FindaClerk
Confirm if your civil rights have been restored by the Board of Executive Clemency: https://fpcweb.fcor.state.fl.us
Background: This massive fundraising effort is in response to the fact that, in defiance of the will of Florida voters, Governor Ron DeSantis continues to fight implementation of Amendment 4 to the Florida Constitution. This amendment restored the right to vote for felons who have completed their sentences and whose convictions were not for homicide or sexual assault. In 2019, the state legislature passed a law requiring the repayment of court fees and fines before returning citizens can register to vote. This law has been the subject of a number of lawsuits.
On September 11, 2020, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Florida can require former felons to pay all fines and fees before regaining the right to vote, overturning a lower court decision. The court ruled states may set what it called “legitimate voter qualifications through laws of general application,” in this case, requiring the payment of court fees and fines, and that voters may be required to “comply with those laws through their own efforts.”
Your right to vote is important, and we continue to support full implementation of Amendment 4, as approved by 64% of Florida voters in 2018.