NewFM’s North Florida Lead Organizer, Devin Coleman spoke at the Florida Constitution Review Commission’s public hearing in Jacksonville, calling on the CRC to allow the public to vote to restore voting rights to returning citizens. The CRC is the 37-member board given the ability to update Florida’s constitution by placing constitutional amendments on the 2018 ballot.
Read Devin’s remarks below.
Good Afternoon members of the Commission. Thank you for taking the time out to come to Jacksonville and listen to what the people have to say when it comes to making our state constitution better.
My name is Devin Coleman an organizer with the statewide organization New Florida Majority. We believe in building leaders among those from historically marginalized communities, working with them so that they can be fully engaged in democracy.
Today is about the people and you, the commissioners. Will you give those who have served time an opportunity to have their voting rights restored automatically, without a petition to the Clemency Board?
Will you refrain from penalizing those who have done time from perpetually? Many here have testified and expressed concern for this issue. Florida is one of a handful of states that has such a stringent voter restoration policy. Recently, the Florida Supreme Court weighed in, allowing a ballot measure called the Voter Restoration Amendment proceed to towards signature collection which would allow returning citizens to rebuild their lives and become civically engaged.
All of you have an opportunity to correct this perpetual punishment by standing up and saying that you believe in the redemption potential of every citizen. Will you seize this opportunity and give the public an opportunity to vote on the Voter Restoration Amendment on the 2018 ballot?