Still more than four months away, more than 47,000 people are listed by the state as ineligible to vote because of previous felony convictions. There are some people who got their right to vote back, but their name is still on the list.
Sam Heyward works part-time at a Tallahassee church. In the past he is not proud of, he was convicted of buying stolen furniture when he was 22. He did a year in a work camp.
In a twist of fate, a woman Sam knows from church works for a city commissioner who was looking over the list of 47,000 felons ineligible to vote. She found Sam’s name. The problem, Sam Heyward’s right to vote was restored in 1986.
Sam says, "Then to find out that my name was still on the list, and they said that it may have some affect on your voting privileges, I don’t see how I’ve been voting for the last 15 years."
In addition to finding Sam’s name, City Commissioner Andrew Gillum and his aid recognized other names and they were able to contact nine of them.
Gillum says, "Three of those individuals out of those nine are absolutely wrongfully identified on this list."
The state says even if people are improperly on the list they would be allowed to cast a provisional ballot, but in the end the election would be long over before the provisional ballots could be counted.
Sam Heyward says if he’s wrongfully on the list there may be others who may not be so lucky.
"How are they to know? If it wasn’t for Mr. Gillum I wouldn’t have known, and that was by coincidence," says Sam.
Gillum and others are calling on the governor to make the voter purge list public so that groups can help track down people like Sam Heyward who don’t belong on the list.
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