Washington, D.C. – Today, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law condemns the Florida legislature for passing SB 7066, legislation that undermines the will of the people who passed Amendment 4 to the Florida Constitution. Amendment 4 would restore voting rights to those with felony convictions who are no longer incarcerated and have complete parole or probation. It excludes those with murder or sexual offense convictions. In an attempt to undermine access to the ballot for the 1.4 million people who would have their voting rights restored, the Florida legislature now requires that returning citizens pay additional fines and fees beyond that included in the Amendment. In response to reports that Governor DeSantis has endorsed the bill and plans to sign it, Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law made the following statement:
“In no uncertain terms, we condemn Governor DeSantis’s announced intention to sign a bill that runs contrary to the will of more than 5 million voters in Florida who supported Amendment 4 this past November. The bill will undoubtedly lock out tens of thousands of otherwise eligible voters merely because of their inability to pay these additional fines and fees. History will not look kindly on the calculated and obstructionist efforts of Florida officials who clearly seek to thwart the will of the people by leaving citizens voiceless and disenfranchised.”
Clarke continued: “This is a missed opportunity for Governor DeSantis who has an opportunity to send a strong message to all Floridians that he supports the will of the people who voted in larger numbers for the Amendment than they did for any individual candidate. Instead he has chosen to endorse legislation that will deny voting opportunities for many voters, particularly Black and Latino voters, across the state.”
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 56th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest to “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.
Reynolds Graves, Lawyers’ Committee, [email protected], 202-662-8375