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

Office Manager

Location: Jacksonville, Florida   Employment Type: Part-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 Office Manager is responsible for providing administrative services and operations support for NewFM’s Jacksonville office,… Continue >
In the News

Leading Racial Justice Organizations Detail Major Challenges Facing Voters of Color Ahead of 2020 Elections

Voting Rights Advocates Work to Combat Barriers Affecting Black and Brown Communities Washington, D.C. – Earlier today, a coalition of national and statewide organizations decried significant barrier to the ballot still facing Black and Brown voters as voter registration deadlines loom ahead of the fall 2020 election. Organizations including New Florida Majority, Advancement Project National Office, New Virginia Majority and New…

Continue reading ›
In the News

New Florida Majority Statement on Trump 2016 Campaign Using Stolen Personal Data to Suppress the Votes of 3.5 Million Black Americans

JACKSONVILLE, FL — Earlier today, the New Florida Majority released a statement from their Senior Program Director for Policy, Advocacy and Research, Moné Holder, regarding a recent report from British investigative journalists at Channel 4 News that found the Trump 2016 campaign used stolen Facebook data to suppress the votes of 3.5 million Black Americans:…

Continue reading ›
Uncategorized

Program Assistant

Location: Jacksonville, Florida    Employment 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 Program Assistant will provide a wide range of administrative and support services to the Senior Program…

Continue reading ›
In the News

New Florida Majority Endorses the Biden-Harris Ticket for President and Vice-President Ahead of General Election

New Florida Majority Also Endorses Eight Local Progressive Leaders to Fight for Black and Brown Communities Miami, FL — Today, New Florida Majority (NewFM), a 501(c)(4) racial justice organization dedicated to expanding democracy and restoring justice, enthusiastically endorsed the Biden-Harris ticket for President and Vice-President, and announced support of a group of eight progressive candidates…

Continue reading ›
In the News

Gov. Ron DeSantis Proposed Bill to Sow Chaos and Weaken the First Amendment

Miami, FL — Earlier today, Andrea Mercado, the Executive Director of the New Florida Majority, one of the largest political organizing groups in the state of Florida, released the following statement regarding proposed legislation from Gov. DeSantis that would throttle the First Amendment and effectively legalize violence against protesters: Let me be clear: Gov. DeSantis is proposing legislation that would…

Continue reading ›
In the News

New Florida Majority Statement on Senator Kamala Harris Named as Joe Biden’s VP Pick

New Florida Majority released the following statement from their Executive Director Andrea Mercado, regarding Senator Kamala Harris being named as Joe Biden’s running mate:

Continue reading ›
Endorsements

POLITICAL ENDORSEMENT

New Florida Majority Endorses Three More Progressive Leaders Ahead of 2020 Primary Elections

Continue reading ›
Expanding Democracy

New Florida Majority Statement on Trump Administration’s Attempt to Undercount Communities in the 2020 Census

The U.S. Census Bureau is ending its critical door-knocking efforts one month early, on September 30, sparking concerns that the White House is pressuring the bureau to wrap up counting.

Continue reading ›
In the News

New Florida Majority Statement on Donald Trump’s Abrupt Cancellation of GOP Convention in Jacksonville

Earlier today, New Florida Majority, one of the largest racial justice and political action organizations in the state, released the following statement from their Senior Director for Policy, Advocacy and Research, Moné Holder, regarding Donald Trump’s abrupt announcement that they will no longer hold the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville: The president’s abrupt announcement last night that he…

Continue reading ›
In the News

Trump’s Latest Attack on Immigrants

Earlier today, New Florida Majority released the following statement from Moné Holder, their Senior Director for Policy, Advocacy and Research, regarding the anticipated release of a presidential executive order to exclude undocumented Americans from the U.S. Census:   Trump’s anticipated executive order banning undocumented Americans from being counted in the U.S. Census is yet another example of…

Continue reading ›