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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Over 100,000 Ex-Offenders Restored Voter Rights in Florida

Put this in the Good News - Bad News column...

By Eddie Griffin

New Florida Rules Return More Than 115,000 Ex-Offenders to Voting Rolls by Damien Cave and Christine Jordan Sexton, The New York Times

The report states: “Gov. Charlie Crist announced on Tuesday that 115,232 Florida felons had regained their voting rights since new rules took effect last April”...

Once somebody has truly paid their debt to society, we should recognize it, and we should honor it and we should welcome them back into society and give them that second chance," Mr. Crist told a crowd of law enforcement officials and advocates for prisoners' rights in Tallahassee...

"That could make an enormous difference in November," he said.

[Read the Rest of the Story]

Eddie Griffin Commentary

In an election year where every vote counts, 115,000 ex-offenders in Florida represent a significant number of new voters. Their impact at the poll can swing the state from red to blue in November.

But what the governor gives with one hand, the state holds back with the other. According to the report, some 80% of the state's disenfranchised ex-offenders remain off the voting rolls in the state.


The ban on voting by felons became part of the state Constitution in 1868, when many Southern states found ways to suppress black votes in the wake of the Civil War. Since only men were allowed to vote, many black men were systematically charged with false charges or Jim Crow offenses, imprisoned, and liberty and rights stripped away.


Restoring the right to vote to ex-offenders is part of a long and endless “Redemption, Restoration, and Reparation Movement”. Although, however, the enfranchisement of a 115,000 ex-offenders may signify a civil rights victory of some great proportion. The greater proposition would be to enfranchise the other 80% and erase one of the last true vestiges of slavery.


  1. it's amazing to me that being a felon means that you can't vote. they don't excuse you from paying taxes once you're home, so why hold back the vote? as if you'd somehow sabotage the system on purpose.

  2. The historical pattern has been to keep black people from voting... by any means necessary... as an additional punishment.

  3. Hello there Eddie!

    Thank you for writing on this issue! I have worked with ex-offenders and MOST do not know many states will restore voting rights of ex-offenders in some situations. I encourage all ex-offenders to pursue all steps necessary to regain voting rights, even if it means moving to a state that will permit it. Remaining politically disenfranchised for LIFE should not be an option that any person will accept.

    Thanks again for this post!

    You are always welcome to stop by my blog and share whenever and whatever you would like! The door is always open!

    Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

  4. Hello Mr. Griffin,

    My name is Rachael Scandarion. I am a Florida volunteer building a grassroots effort that identifies and engages both disenfranchised and RCR ex-offenders statewide in Registering to Vote.

    I have obtained a database list of ex-offenders from the Florida Parole Commission that has 345,000 names of RCR Clemencies granted through 7.25.08.

    While this database does not contain phone or address contacts for the listings, it does have name, DOB, Executive Order #'s, and date clemency granted.

    I need help in expeditiously identifying a means by which to cross-reference the names on this list with other databases of contact info: phone numbers, street addresses, whatever means are possible to contact those on the database.

    I have a substantial base of volunteers who are ready to help make contact with the intent of holding ceremonies, where these citizens of our country are re-engaged throughout Florida in a day of statewide events that will celebrate their restoration of rights as citizens with dignity and respect and to provide them with the opportunity to Register to Vote - much like naturalization ceremonies for those becoming citizens.

    For obvious reasons, time is of the essence in this matter in order to ensure that they are all registered in time to be a part of this most critical general election. Could you please contact me at your soonest convenience and advise me if you can assist me or if you know of another organization or individual who can help me.

    I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible. Thank you for your urgent attention to this matter. I remain,
    Very Truly Yours,
    Rachael Scandarion

    "We Must Be The Change We Wish To See In The World."
    ~ M. Gandhi

    Rachael Scandarion