Convicted felons now able to vote after passage of Amendment 4

By: Alicia Turner | WCTV Eyewitness News
November 29, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- On November 6, millions across the Sunshine State headed to the polls to cast their ballot. Many saw the act as part of their civic duty, but for millions of others, the possibility of entering a poling place was just a dream.

"The last time I was able to vote was in 1984, so it's been 34 years," said Warren Cave. Cave is a felon, who served time for a drug conviction in the early 90's.

He's stayed out of trouble ever since.

"I should have been able to vote," Cave said. "I've done my time, done my probation and paid my fine. Why can't I vote?"

It's a second chance that millions of Floridians are seeking.

Cave says the biggest impact is not setting the example for his young son.

"With me being an African-American, with me being a business man, he sees me feed the homeless, he sees me help with people in jail, he sees me preach in prison and he sees me doing things in church and in the community," Cave said. "He helps me in the community with a lot, but his dad can't vote."

But now, that's changed.

Before Amendment 4 passed, felons had to go through a lengthy process for a restoration of rights. Now, it's a matter of simply checking a box.

"They fill out the whole application, which is Form 39 for the Division of Elections, and then take it to their local supervisor of elections. The elections supervisor is the one who would process the form," explained Reggie Garcia.

"We already have that form in hand," said Greg James, who fought for the amendment.

James is a pastor. He's was also convicted on drug charges.

He's now spreading the word to others, helping them find the form so they can vote in the next election in 2020.

"Although we could not cast a ballot at the box, our voices were heard throughout the state of Florida," James said.

"I can come to the table and be served as well," Cave added. "I came as a butler all the time. I'm picking up crumbs, I'm doing things to try to make myself be a part of. I get to sit at the table now."

A voice, Cave says, he's looking forward to using.

"When Xbox, Playstation come out with new games, people camp out in front of the stores for the store to open. I'm camping out to vote," he said.

Although Amendment 4 has passed, it wont go into effect until January 8.

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