Roy Gilbert

Ex-felons allowed to vote? Floridians gave the issue national prominence, but it could be in jeopardy

Florida ex-felon voting rights

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Curtis Bryant Jr., who could benefit from Amendment 4, spends time with his son, Curtis Bryant III, 6, at their home in Orlando, Fla. ORLANDO, Fla. —

Curtis Bryant Jr. has an evening routine — he scrolls through the television channels, stopping briefly for headlines on a local station before flipping to the national news.

There’s the back-and-forth impeachment drama and all-too-familiar segments about people working full-time jobs yet struggling to make ends meet. And, since the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub , a short drive from his home, he’s paid close attention to the fight over gun control.

Bryant, 38, says he is more engaged in social and political issues than ever before and that he’s counting down the days until next year’s elections.

“It’s something I never thought of before, when I was running them streets,” said Bryant, who served nearly a decade in prison for selling crack cocaine. “Voting is my voice. It’s a voice I’ve never used, but I’m ready.”

But that might prove difficult.

Bryant is among the roughly 1.4 million Floridians who had their voting rights restored last year by state voters through a ballot measure , known as Amendment 4, that cast a national spotlight on the disenfranchisement of felons, even long after they served their sentences.But within months, the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature acted to limit the effect of the initiative — passing a measure to allow voting only by formerly incarcerated felons who have paid off all court-imposed fees, which in some cases amount to tens […]

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