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Local elections office expects surge of voting registrations when Amendment 4 takes effect

Local elections office expects surge of voting registrations when Amendment 4 takes effect
Local elections office expects surge of voting registrations when Amendment 4 takes effect
Posted at 4:51 PM, Dec 20, 2018

LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) - Leon County is moving ahead preparing to allow previously convicted felons to register to vote.

This comes despite Governor-Elect Ron DeSantis urging to hold off on implementing the measure that voters approved. 

Jan. 8 will be a big day for the state of Florida, as many new amendments go into effect, including Amendment 4. That's the one that restores voting rights to previously convicted felons. 

Voters approved this measure in the November midterm election. However, in an interview with the Palm Beach Post earlier this month, DeSantis said that this amendment should not take effect until "implementing language" is approved by the legislature and signed by him. 

Mark Earley, Supervisor of Elections in Leon County, is not planning to wait. Instead, on Jan. 8, when all new amendments take effect, felons who are eligible will have their rights restored and be able to register to vote. 

"The voter registration application for Florida, the second box you check, it says 'I am not a convicted felon, or if I am, my rights have been restored.' If somebody checks that box and signs the oath at the bottom, as the supervisor of elections, we work within the four corners of that document," said Earley. "We take it at face value." 

The voter registration will then go to the department of state for a final review. 

Earley anticipates hundreds of people registering to vote on Jan. 8, not just at the Supervisor of Elections Office, but also online.  

Voting rights will not be restored to those who have been convicted of murder or sexual crimes.

It is important for felons to contact the Clerk of Courts Office, or the Department of Corrections, to make sure that they have completed all requirements of their sentence.