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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