NewFM members celebrate Voting Restoration Amendment certification

NewFM staff and members credited volunteers for their tireless dedication to reach out to everyone from neighbors to strangers for signatures.

Leaders credit the tireless work of volunteers and the public’s strong support of second chances for putting the measure on the ballot this November

Miami, Orlando & Jacksonville – With the help of a committed grassroots effort, Floridians across the Sunshine State signed and submitted more than 1.1 million petitions and put the Second Chances Voting Restoration Amendment on the November ballot. 

“Through the hard work of Florida voters and unwavering dedication of a truly grassroots movement, we have reached a historic milestone and have officially placed the Second Chances Voting Restoration Amendment on the ballot,” said Desmond Meade, Chair of Floridians for a Fair Democracy and spokesperson for Second Chances Florida Campaign. “Voters took matters in their own hands to ensure that their fellow Floridians, family members, and friends who’ve made past mistakes, served their time and paid their debts to society are given a second chance and the opportunity to earn back their ability to vote.”

New Florida Majority staff and members celebrated with calls, texts and emails to each all those who had helped make this diverse grassroots effort a reality.

“I believe the Voting Restoration Amendment making it on the 2018 ballot is indicative of the fact that Floridians regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religious beliefs,  or political affiliation believe in second chances,” said North Florida Lead Organizer Devin Coleman, himself a returning citizen. “I’m overwhelmed by the commitment of all those involved and hopeful for a future in which Florida’s returning citizens are granted a voice in the political process.”

NewFM volunteer April Roberts has a very personal connection to the effort. Her husband is a returning citizen and knows how his life could change for the better if he and others were able to vote. She credited volunteers for their tireless dedication to reach out to everyone from neighbors and strangers for signatures.

“The credit for this victory goes to the working people. The grassroots movers and shakers that got on buses to get petitions signed. That knocked on every door in their community making sure that  their neighbors knew about this issue and signed a petition. The victory goes to the everyday people that dared to dream of a better Florida.”

Roberts said the hundreds of conversations that she engaged in while gathering signatures gave her a deeper perspective as to what we all share as Floridians.  

“I learned out the field that no matter what a persons color or background is we all are affected by this issue,” said Roberts. “I am so elated that Floridians have taken an unyielding stand for forgiveness and now we can offer a real shot at a Second Chance”

NewFM volunteers in South Florida like Deborah Carter and Michelle Davis were excited to hear the news and to see that the efforts of so many that gathered signatures at homes, meetings and public events all year long.

“Some people did not believe this could make it to the ballot or that it could pass,” said Davis, who collected 865 petitions. “I am thrilled about the news of the measure making it to the ballot.”

“I am thrilled that it will make it to the ballot in November and that our work was not in vain,” said Carter, a resident of Liberty City who collected 701 petitions.

Renette Jean-Louis, who herself collected 941 petitions, agreed.

“It feels great,” said Jean-Louis. “Everyone deserves a second chance on everything. There were some people against us, but at the same time a lot of people very supportive of the work we were doing”

Florida has the most restrictive policies in the nation with respect to limiting the ability to vote for citizens who have paid their debts to society. It is one of only four states with a lifetime ban on voting. Current law outlines a long and difficult process to restore an individual’s ability vote.

Allapattah, Miami resident Elizabeth San Martin said that she is looking forward to getting back to knocking on doors and engaging all voters in all languages to vote YES on 4 and ensure that Florida’s law supports second chances.  

“Reaching out to youth is very important, they are our future and no one is speaking at their level,” said San Martin, who collected over 1000 petitions. “On the ground we need to break walls. We need to move more towards education”

To learn more about the Second Chances Campaign, please visit www.SecondChancesFL.org.

NewFM staffers Renee Mowatt and Daniel Garcia interviewed members and contributed to this report. 

Updates

POLITICAL ENDORSEMENT

New Florida Majority Endorses Six More Progressive Leaders Ahead of 2020 Primary Elections Continue >
In the Community

We told Governor DeSantis, Florida needs #ReliefNotReopen

As Florida reaches record numbers of new Coronavirus cases, on July 1st thousands of Floridians could lose their homes while hundreds of thousands still wait for unemployment checks

Continue reading ›
Uncategorized

Digital Media Specialist

Location: Miami, FLEmployment Type: Full-time Organization Overview: The New Florida Majority is an independent organization working to increase the voting and political power of marginalized and excluded constituencies toward an inclusive, equitable, and just Florida. Job Description: The Digital Media Specialist is responsible for assisting the Digital Media Manager with executing daily tasks associated with…

Continue reading ›
In the News

Renters & Homeowners Demand Statewide Rent & Mortgage Relief Before Moratorium Expires

On Thursday, June 25th, housing advocates from across Florida will come together less than a week before rent payments and mortgage payments are due to demand Governor Ron DeSantis act boldly to protect Floridians impacted by COVID-19 before mass evictions and foreclosures take place.

Continue reading ›
Criminal Justice

BREAKING: Florida Has New Law to Ensure Dignity for Pregnant Incarcerated Women and their Babies

The Tammy Jackson Act ensures pregnant women are treated with respect, humanity and dignity

Continue reading ›
In the News

#DeSantisFailedFlorida Trends on Twitter, Trump Ally Under Fire as President’s Poll Numbers Tank

The governor has repeatedly declined to take responsibility for the sharp rise in infection rates by leaning on racism to deflect blame towards migrant workers in the state.

Continue reading ›
Climate

Climate Power 2020 Announces Florida Co-Chairs

Climate Power 2020 announced its Florida Co-Chairs, a coalition of state leaders and activists who reflect the diverse, grassroots movement needed to ensure 2020 is a defining moment for how our nation addresses the climate crisis.

Continue reading ›
In the Community

New Florida Majority Releases Statement on Unknown Whereabouts of Governor Ron DeSantis

Earlier today, New Florida Majority released the following statement from their Executive Director, Andrea Mercado, regarding the currently unknown whereabouts of Gov. Ron DeSantis

Continue reading ›
In the News

New Florida Majority Releases Statement on Unknown Whereabouts of Governor Ron DeSantis

"Florida needs to have an honest conversation surrounding the systemic racism that permeates our criminal justice system and work to implement solutions to this issue, but you’re going to have to come out of hiding first."

Continue reading ›
Press Releases
New Florida Majority Leaders Stand in Solidarity with Florida Protests for Black Lives

New Florida Majority Leaders Stand in Solidarity with Florida Protests for Black Lives

The New Florida Majority stands in solidarity with communities around the country that are challenging generations of indignity, marginalization, and corrupt and racist power structures.

Continue reading ›
Press Releases

FUNERAL PROCESSIONS IN FLORIDA: WE NEED #RELIEFNOTREOPEN

On Wednesday, May 27th, community members and leaders of grassroots organizations will lead funeral processions and direct actions all over Florida to honor the lives lost to COVID-19, and to hold Governor DeSantis and Trump accountable for their inaction and recklessness. Community members will demand Governor DeSantis to act immediately by expediting and expanding unemployment benefits for Floridians in need as our state faces one of the worst unemployment crises of our time, and rent relief for families who are at risk of being evicted after the Moratorium on Evictions is lifted on June 2nd.

Continue reading ›
Press Releases

Floridians Deserve the Truth and Relief

Community organizations call on the Florida Legislature to investigate Governor DeSantis’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic

Continue reading ›