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Restoring Your Right to Vote

Florida is one of only three states that strip all individuals with past felony convictions of their civil rights, including their fundamental right to vote, even after completion of their sentences.

Floridians with past felony convictions lose not only the right to vote, but also the right to serve on a jury and to hold public office. Restoration of civil rights is also necessary to obtain certain occupational licenses.

Close to one million Floridians are affected by this civil rights ban. In many instances those individuals that have lost their right to vote can have that right re-instated. Below is information from the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition & the Florida Parole Commission.  More information on this topic may be found at www.restorerights.org and at https://fpc.state.fl.us/FAQClemency.htm.

If you are an individual that currently does not have your right to vote intact due to a past conviction, PLEASE review this information and take the necessary measures to have your civil rights restored.  This is an American right which many of our military members have paid for with their lives.

The information contained herein is intended for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

From the Florida Parole Commission (https://fpc.state.fl.us):

Question: If I am released from custody or supervision from the Florida Department of Corrections, how can my civil rights be restored?

At the completion of your sentence, the Florida Department of Corrections will automatically submit an electronic application for you to the Parole Commission for eligibility review for restoration of civil rights without a hearing. Your case will be processed either as Level I (automatic approval of restoration of civil rights) or Level II (restoration of civil rights without a hearing by preliminary review list). (Please see Rules 9 and 10 of the Rules of Executive Clemency.) If determined eligible as a Level I case (automatic RCR), your name will be submitted to the Executive Clemency Board on an Executive Order for approval. Your certificate will be mailed to your last known address once the order has been signed.

If your case is determined to be a Level II (restoration of civil rights without a hearing by preliminary review list), following an investigation of your case, your name will be provided to the Executive Clemency Board for a 30-day review. If the Governor and two or more Board Members approve restoration of civil rights, a certificate will be mailed to your last known address once the order has been signed.

If you are determined ineligible by the Commission, or are not approved for restoration of civil rights by the Board, you will be notified that the restoration process may continue if you contact the Office of Executive Clemency and request a hearing and agree to participate in the investigative process. Please note, if you have been determined ineligible under Rules 9A1, 9A2, or 9A3, you will need to contact the Office of Executive Clemency once these are satisfied.

If you completed a state prison sentence or term of supervision prior to 2001 or if you served a felony sentence in a county jail or in another state, or with the federal government, you can request restoration of civil rights by contacting the Office of Executive Clemency.

(Click this link to contact the Office of Executive Clemency and/or to search for and print your Clemency Certificate: https://fpc.state.fl.us/ExecutiveClemencyRCR.htm )

Question: What rights are restored?

The basic civil rights that are restored are:  the right to vote, the right to serve on a jury, and the right to hold public office.  In addition, restoration of civil rights may allow you to be considered for certain types of employment licenses.  The right to own, possess, or use firearms requires an application and there is a waiting period of eight years from the date sentence expired or supervision terminated.

Question:  Do I need an attorney to handle my application?

No, you do not need an attorney to represent you in the clemency process.

Question: Is there a filing fee for the application process?

No, there is no fee involved.  This is a service provided free of charge by the State of Florida.

Question:  If my case is scheduled for a clemency hearing, do I have to attend the hearing?

No, it is not a requirement for any individual to attend the clemency hearing, although in rare cases, the Governor or any Board Member may request that an individual appear to answer specific questions about his or her case.

Question:  If adjudication of guilt was withheld in my case, do I need restoration of civil rights?

No, if adjudication of guilt was withheld in your case, you have not lost your civil rights.  However, per the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Firearms Purchase Program, you are usually prohibited from purchasing firearms for at least three years from the date your supervision terminated.  You may contact FDLE at (850) 410-8139 for more information.

 

Please review an informational flyer from the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition by clicking HERE

Florida Rights Restoration Coalition

4500 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 340, Miami FL 33137

Tel: 877-U-Count-2 / 877-826-8682

Fax: (305) 576-1106

www.restorerights.org     info@restorerights.org