Restoration of Voting Rights in Florida

In November 2018, Florida voters approved a ballot measure restoring voting rights to more than a million individuals with prior felony convictions. But thanks to a new state law and its difficult implementation, many citizens remain effectively disenfranchised.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Months after Floridians voted to restore the right to vote to individuals with prior felony convictions who had completed their sentences, the state legislature passed a bill, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, explicitly requiring these individuals to pay all fines and fees before they can cast a ballot, regardless of circumstance. Many have criticized the law, SB 7066, for instituting a financial hurdle to exercising the right to vote and effectively overturning the will of the voters who passed Amendment 4.

But a significant issue has also been the fact that the state has no central database or system for actually tracking what people owe with any certainty — thus putting the onus on the voter to navigate a murky system. Florida’s Department of State said it was developing a procedure wherein it can regularly update counties with lists of felons who owe fees, but the lack of process remains a serious concern.

In October, a federal judge temporarily blocked the law for 17 people who challenged SB 7066 in court, and ruled that it was unconstitutional to deny the franchise to those who are “genuinely unable to pay.” U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle also said that there needed to be a process for evaluating someone’s claim that they can’t afford to pay their outstanding fees. Meanwhile, the 2020 election — and registration deadlines — draw nearer, with Hinkle having accused the DeSantis administration in December of trying to “run out the clock.” 

American Oversight is investigating the development and implementation of Amendment 4 and SB 7066, looking at the related records of state and local officials involved in implementing the new law.

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March 23, 2020

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March 18, 2020

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March 16, 2020

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March 3, 2020

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March 2, 2020

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February 27, 2020

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January 20, 2020

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January 20, 2020

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January 14, 2020

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January 7, 2020

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January 3, 2020

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December 30, 2019

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December 26, 2019

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December 20, 2019

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December 20, 2019

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December 20, 2019

PRR to Okaloosa County, Florida, for Emails Between Members of the Restoration of Voting Rights Task Force

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December 20, 2019

PRR to Hernando County, Florida, Clerk for Emails Between Members of the Restoration of Voting Rights Task Force

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December 20, 2019

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December 20, 2019

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December 20, 2019

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December 11, 2019

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November 12, 2019

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November 8, 2019

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October 23, 2019

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October 1, 2019

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September 13, 2019

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September 13, 2019

Leon County, Florida, Records Regarding the Implementation of FL SB 7066

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September 12, 2019

Public Records Request to Florida Department of State Seeking Emails to County Supervisors of Elections Regarding Voting Rights Restoration

Florida Department of State
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August 29, 2019

Public Records Request to Governor’s Office Seeking Records Related to the Restoration of Voting Rights Work Group

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August 29, 2019

Public Records Request to Florida’s Department of State Seeking Records Related to the Restoration of Voting Rights Work Group

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August 21, 2019

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August 21, 2019

Public Records Request to Palm Beach County Clerk’s Office Seeking Email Communications Related FL SB 7066

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August 21, 2019

Public Records Request to Broward County Clerk’s Office Seeking Records Reflecting Its Role in Implementing FL SB 7066 

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August 21, 2019

Public Records Request to Broward County Clerk’s Office Seeking Email Communications Related to Implementing FL SB 7066

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August 21, 2019

Public Records Request to Miami-Dade County Clerk’s Office Seeking Records Reflecting Its Role in Implementing FL SB 7066 

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August 21, 2019

Public Records Request to Miami-Dade County Clerk’s Office Seeking Seeking Email Communications Related to Implementing FL SB 7066

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August 21, 2019

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August 21, 2019

Public Records Request to Hillsborough County Clerk’s Office Seeking Email Communications Related to Implementing FL SB 7066

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August 21, 2019

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FOIA Request
August 21, 2019

Public Records Request to Duval County Clerk’s Office Seeking Email Communications Related to Implementing FL SB 7066

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August 21, 2019

Public Records Request to Leon County Clerk’s Office Seeking Records Reflecting Its Role in Implementing FL SB 7066 

Florida - Leon County
FOIA Request
August 21, 2019

Public Records Request to Leon County Clerk’s Office Seeking Seeking Email Communications Related to Implementing FL SB 7066

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FOIA Request
July 3, 2019

Public Records Request to Florida SOS Regarding Requirements to Pay Fines Before Voting

Florida Department of State
FOIA Request
April 26, 2019

Public Records Request to Florida House of Representatives Seeking Communications Between Rep. James Grant and Voter Fraud Activists

Florida House of Representatives
FOIA Request
April 26, 2019

Public Records Request to Florida House of Representatives Seeking Communications Between Rep. James Grant and State Officials

Florida House of Representatives
FOIA Request
April 26, 2019

Public Records Request to Florida House of Representatives Seeking Elections-Related Communications with State Officials

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