56 former felons register to vote in Sarasota County in first two days of effective date of Amendment 4

Supervisor of Elections Office provides fact sheet to assist people with the process

Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner. Image from www.sarasotavotes.com

In the first two days since of Florida Amendment 4 became state law — Jan. 8 and 9 — the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office processed a total of 56 voter registration applications, Rachel Denton, the office’s communications and outreach manager, told The Sarasota News Leader on Jan. 10.

Last week, Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner issued a fact sheet about Amendment 4, which allows voter registration of most individuals with prior felony convictions who have completed their sentences, including parole and probation requirements.

Turner joined colleagues across the state in beginning the registration process,even though Gov. Ron DeSantis has told reporters he believed Amendment 4 should not go into effect until after state lawmakers passed “implementing language” in a bill that he then would be able to sign.

Amendment 4 won approval of 64.6% of the Florida voters who addressed the question on their Nov. 6, 2018 General Election ballots. That meant 5.2 million state citizens affirmed their belief in restoring the voting rights of felons who have fulfilled all the requirements of their sentences, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

The terms of the constitutional amendment “exclude anyone convicted of murder or a felony sex offense, unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore voting rights for those individuals,” Turner pointed out in the fact sheet his office issued last week.

Turner and his staff addressed other questions about the process, as follows from that fact sheet:

The Supervisor of Elections Office in downtown Sarasota is in the Terrace Building. Image courtesy Tax Collector’s Office

How do I register to vote?

You may apply for voter registration by completing a Florida Voter Registration Application and submitting it to the Supervisor of Elections office. You can also submit an online application at RegistertoVoteFlorida.gov or register to vote at the Tax Collector’s Office in downtown Sarasota while getting a driver’s license or identification card. Applications are also available at public assistance offices, centers for independent living, offices serving persons with disabilities, public libraries and armed forces recruitment offices.

How do I find out if I am eligible to vote under the terms of Amendment 4?

Individuals who have been convicted of a felony and are unsure if their sentences have been completed may find information on the website of the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the county where they were sentenced or by contacting the Florida Department of Corrections where they were incarcerated and/or supervised. When registering to vote, an individual must complete a voter registration application, which includes an affirmation that if a person has been convicted of a felony, his or her right to vote has been restored.

Resources to help confirm Amendment 4 sentence completion obligations:

How will the Supervisor of Elections handle voter registration applications in view of Amendment 4?

As of Jan. 8, the Supervisor of Elections Office is accepting and processing voter registration applications, as usual, including from individuals with prior felony convictions who are newly eligible to register pursuant to the terms of Amendment 4. Voters who previously were removed from the voter rolls because of a felony conviction must re-register to vote.

For more information, a person may call 941-861-8619 or email voterservices@sarasotavotes.com.

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