Gulf County volunteers are joining a grassroots campaign to put the Voting Restoration Amendment on the 2018 ballot.

Gulf County volunteers are joining a grassroots campaign to put the Voting Restoration Amendment on the 2018 ballot.

The Amendment would change Florida’s Constitution to restore the ability to vote to Floridians with felony convictions after they have completed all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. It would not apply to those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense.

Florida remains one of only four states that permanently strips the right to vote from citizens with felony convictions unless they receive clemency.

“Americans believe in second chances. We need to make sure that Florida law does too,” said Andrea De La Vega, Gulf County coordinator for the campaign. “It’s simply the right thing to do.”

In 2016, the Sentencing Project estimated that of the nearly 6.1 million Americans disenfranchised due to felony convictions, one-quarter (27 percent) are Floridians.

“Nearly 1.5 million Floridians have paid their debt to society but can’t participate in our democracy,” De La Vega said.

The state requires 766,200 valid petition signatures to make the 2018 ballot and sixty percent of the vote to pass.

Voters may learn more and download the petition at www.SecondChancesFL.org.