ACLU Pushes for Felon Voting Rights

By: Blaine Tolison Email
By: Blaine Tolison Email

The American Civil Liberties Union says felons should have
an easier transition back into society. And they feel there should be a better process in place for voting rights. For a felon, the ACLU says local offices do not know who has a right to vote or how they go about doing so.

At the Leon County Supervisor of Elections, officials say felons must go to the executive Office of Clemency just to find out. Assistant Supervisor of Elections, Janet Olin said, "It would be great if they had some sort of an on-line look up that a citizen could go in and say, 'Do I have my rights or not?' That would make it easy."

Outside the local Supervisor of Elections office, the ACLU says it has been nearly two years since Governor Crist improved how felons regain their rights. And while the the governor claims the state is on the right path, the ACLU says more streamlining is needed.

Mark Schlakman, who helped draft the ACLU report released Wednesday said, "This report was an effort to take a snapshot of where we are today, where we've been and to lay out recommendations as to where we need to go in the near term to make this a more viable process."

About 135,000 felons have had their rights restored since 2007 when Governor Crist helped speed up the process. Officials with the ACLU say they believe the Governor will hear their call to move forward and make more progress.

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  • by Still Annoyed on Mar 13, 2009 at 09:48 AM
    I don't think felons getting their voting rights back has anything to do with getting Obama re-elected. I'm not a felon; I have a squeaky clean record and if given the chance again I would vote for Obama over McCain. My father is a felon and I'm more than sure he wouldn't. I don't know who I will vote for in the next election because I don't know who is running but if it's Sarah Palin I can assure everyone I won't be voting for her animal murdering a__.
  • by Tim on Mar 12, 2009 at 05:58 PM
    Joe, Jesus may forgive, but even David suffered the consequences of his sins. One can forgive, but one still has to bear the result of what they done. The man on the cross next to Jesus was forgiven, yet he still paid the ultimate price, death.
  • by bill Location: mayo on Mar 12, 2009 at 05:11 PM
    this is whats wrong with america the aclu and the naacp if you commit a felon then you forfeit those rights. It's bad enough that prisons are like a holiday inn extended stay with free everything and who pays for that Us taxpayers.
  • by Realist Location: Tallahassee on Mar 12, 2009 at 04:25 PM
    I see this as nothing but a thinly veiled attempt to see to it that there are plenty of people available to vote for the purpose of getting OBAMA reelected. Face it, not all the people that were foolish enough to vote for him once will be foolish enough to make the same mistake a second time.
  • by Annoyed on Mar 12, 2009 at 03:54 PM
    Conservatives just drive me nuts...they are pro-life and don't want anyone to abort their children even if there's going to be something wrong with them or the parents can't afford them, but then they complain they don't want to pay welfare for the people who had the kids or when the kids grow up to be these felons. Most call themselves "Christians" or any other "I go to church so I'm better than you" religion they've decided to adopt. They judge felons like this and continue to complain about the economy and how it sucks and people need to get jobs and they don't want to pay for welfare or inmates and BLAH BLAH BLAH. While some felons may continue to commit crimes no matter what they're forgiven and what rights that have been re-established, the percentage who would do good with a second chance should have that opportunity. Otherwise, what's the point in being good if you can't work or have any rights? Just commit more crimes, make taxpayers pay more for the inmates.
  • by SmarterThanYou on Mar 12, 2009 at 03:42 PM
    Thank you, Joe! Some Christians do still exist but most who say they are aren't any better than anyone else, they just go to church and call themselves Christians because they're scared. I bet half of these judgemental people on here have committed a crime and gotten away with it or had a parent or child who did. I have family members and friends that have felonies and cannot vote and they are much smarter than a lot of the scum that does have the right to vote. People who get felonies at a young age are pretty much doomed for their life even after they PAY their CONSEQUENCES because they can't get jobs, get grants for college, or vote and I'm sure there are other things they can't do. How is anyone supposed to better themselves without any opportunities? A lot of people shouldn't be able to vote but it's not the felons voting I am worried about. There should be IQ and "How sorry are you?" quizzes given to everyone before they can give their input about anything.
  • by Anonymous Location: NW Tally on Mar 12, 2009 at 03:41 PM
    Voting should be a privilage - not a right. I was in a convenience store at 11am this morning - all three of the customers in front of me purchased at least 2 quarts of malt liquor, cigarettes, and cigars. I wonder who they voted for in the last election? They certainly qualify to have an EDUCATED opinion in government? NOT!!
  • by Joe on Mar 12, 2009 at 03:14 PM
    Jesus preached forgiveness - how many of you so called "christians" actually live by what he taught? Not very many in my experience.... You say you do on Sunday but you're all as bitter and angry as those you hate.
  • by Tim on Mar 12, 2009 at 02:33 PM
    ML, wrong, voting is a right and a privledge, and if one breaks the law bad enough to get a felony, then the right to vote needs to be taken away. People who break the law know what they are doing, being young is not an excuse, a bad family life is not an excuse. Society has given too much in the way of justifying crime and those who commit crimes. You may have served the sentence, but some crimes are never forgotten by the victums or the cost that the taxpayers paid to house, feed, take care of and rehabilitate to release back into society. If a felon wants his rights back, then have them pay all cost of the taxpayers and victums before these rights are restored. The truth is probably none ever could.
  • by ROB Location: TALLY on Mar 12, 2009 at 12:05 PM
    GV...every felon creates a victim
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