Thank you, Florida! You said YES to second chances! Thanks to the 64% of you who voted for Amendment 4, 1.4 million people—your friends and family members and neighbors—are eligible to vote. It’s a great day for Florida, and a great day for democracy.
Until today, Florida was one of only four states in the country that could permanently bar anyone with a felony conviction from ever voting again.
And now? Floridians stood up and told the world that they believe in a democracy that values everyone’s voice. Today, 1.4 million returning citizens have a say in their future and it’s a beautiful thing.
Turning a Dream Into Reality
The Second Chances Campaign started with a simple idea: when a debt’s paid, it’s paid. This is not, in most of the world, and even in most of the country, a controversial stance. Vermont and Maine let people vote from prison, but even among states that place restrictions on voting for those with a prior felony conviction, the huge majority gives their citizens a clear path to having their eligibility to vote restored once they’ve completed their sentence.
But Florida law essentially turned every felony conviction into a lifetime sentence of second-class citizenship. In Florida, you could pay your debt to society, you could do everything right, and still be unable to vote. To our friend, Desmond Meade, and so many others at the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) and around the state, that simply made no sense.
Yesterday, an overwhelming number of Florida voters agreed—and they changed the law!
Let’s Finish the Job!
Today we’re celebrating. So many people worked so hard to make this day happen, and they deserve some time to enjoy this feeling. But tomorrow, we all need to build on this momentum. Studies have shown that restoring the eligibility to vote will bring new jobs, a lower crime rate, and many more benefits. But to truly complete the mission, we have to make sure that all 1.4 million Floridians get registered!
Can’t you just feel the energy? That’s the energy of new ideas, new perspectives, and new voices. We can’t wait to see how Florida’s returning citizens contribute their creativity and commitment to building a better future for their state and the country. We welcome them with open arms.
We’ll never forget this day, Florida. This is the true power of second chances.
What’s next? Registering 1.4 million newly eligible voters! If that’s you, head over to HeadCount.org to register now! And encourage your friends, family, and neighbors to do the same.