Op-Ed, Opinion

Former felons can change Florida’s future

Florida’s midterm election not only attracted attention for its gubernatorial and Senate races, but also for its wide array of amendments that would affect the lives of emergency responders’ children, racing greyhounds, and non-sexual and non-violent convicted felons.

Amendment 4 returned a majority vote of “yes” on Nov. 6, restoring the right of convicted felons to vote in upcoming state and national elections.

Before this amendment was passed, ex-convicts were not permitted to continue their civic duty of voting after they completed their judicial sentence. This has been challenged and protested for years and is now history.

I was especially excited to see that this amendment was passed by Florida voters. In my personal life, I have seen this affect various people. Convicted felons are still impacted by elections, pay taxes, contribute to the economy and live their lives like any other American, only now they carry criminal records on their backs.

One of the debates on this issue was whether or not violent and sexual offenders would be granted this same restoration right. It was concluded that it would not, which might have influenced the landslide vote that the amendment received on Election Day.

Many Florida voters expressed that they would not feel comfortable with violent and sexual abusers being able to voice their opinions on who gets to be in office. I have to say, I agree. While these people are still human, they’ve chosen to commit crimes that have directly harmed someone, unlike drug or white-collar crimes that don’t always cause purposeful physical damage to a person.

With this law, over one million ex-felons will now be able to vote. For the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election, this is huge. This means that in the state of Florida, which is known as one of the key swing states, there will be another one million voices to take into consideration.

These opinions have been spoken but ignored in the past, and could now impact the way that Florida votes. It could make Florida an even more Republican state, or make the blue wave a tsunami. It’s unclear at the time which direction it will go, but it could certainly mean good things for Florida Democrats.

Historically, Democrats have been more in favor of prisoners’ rights than Republicans. Democrats have proposed and attempted to pass bills in the Congress and Senate to shorten the sentences of prisoners, eliminate mandatory minimum sentences, and more specifically the First Step Act which aims to increase the amount of time off for good behavior.

Democrats have voiced more concerns, with the exception of a smaller number of Republicans, ex-convicts that are now going to be registered to vote should be voting blue, and I believe that they will. As voters, we strongly believe that you should vote for who is going to represent you. Your wants, needs and concerns should be represented by the party and candidate who have your best interest at heart. For convicted felons, I would strongly urge them to register as Democrats.

It has been a long time coming for felons to be granted their right to vote once again in the state of Florida. In my past as a volunteer for Florida Democrats and other political organizations in my hometown of Naples, Florida, I have seen how hard the Democratic Party has fought to encourage people to see how vital these laws are to our society and people.

Amendment 4 has made history in this state and I hope it will influence others to do the same.

Britny Sanchez is a junior majoring in political science.

December 3, 2018

Reporters

Britny Sanchez


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The Gino DiMare era for the Miami Hurricanes couldn’t have started any better. In DiMare’s first gam ...

One thing was obvious to Wayne Younger the first time he got his hands on Ladarius Tennison: The ath ...

Though it’s early, UM already has assembled an outstanding nine-member 2020 recruiting class, a grou ...

Three days before they open their season against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, the Miami Hurricanes h ...

The first half of Wednesday night’s game was as lousy as the weather outside the Watsco Center, as t ...

Happiness and well-being scholar Tal Ben-Shahar is UM’s newest Distinguished Presidential Scholar. ...

The University of Miami will host the first symposium to explore LGBTQ human rights across the Ameri ...

UM experts react to a new ban that prohibits people in Key West from using certain types of sunscree ...

A matchmaker extraordinaire, Ricardo Cepeda, the manager of the UM Zebrafish Facility, is passionate ...

The Shelley family shares their story of four generations at the University of Miami. ...

The Canes open the 75th season in program history and first under the direction of head coach Gino D ...

Game time is 6 p.m. in Chestnut Hill, Mass. ...

The No. 20 Miami women's basketball team will play its second top-five foe in a span of three g ...

The University of Miami golf team heads to the Big Easy to open competition Sunday at the 2019 Allst ...

Beatrice Mompremier of the Miami women's basketball team is a Lisa Leslie Center of the Year Aw ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.