Amendment 4 Implementation

– Frequently Asked Questions –

Amendment 4 Implementation

– Frequently Asked Questions –

When does Amendment 4 go into effect?

The amendment goes into effect on January 8th, 2019.

If I am a Returning Citizen who has completed all portions of my sentence, can I register to vote on January 8th?

Yes. Returning Citizens (people with former felony convictions) who have completed their sentence and have not been convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense can register to vote starting January 8th, as soon as the Amendment language is written in to the State Constitution.

Will FRRC be helping Returning Citizens who want to register on or after January 8th?

Yes. If you are a Returning Citizen (person with a former felony conviction) and you plan to register starting January 8th, please let us know through our website so we can make sure your registration is protected. You can also ask us any questions you have that are not covered here.

Does the legislature need to write rules to implement Amendment 4?

No. The legislature does not need to write enabling legislation. The amendment is self-executing. The State has conceded this point in its filing in the Hand v. Scott case. This means that, unlike what we may have seen after Fair Districts or Medical Marijuana was passed, the legislature does not have to do anything to implement Amendment 4.

What is the legislature’s role in Amendment 4 implementation?

The legislature is responsible for oversight and funding of the government agencies responsible for administering the implementation of Amendment 4.

Do Returning Citizens register through the normal voter registration process?

Yes. The existing voter registration form is adequate and sufficient to immediately register individuals impacted by Amendment 4. Question #2 on that form asks individuals to “affirm that I am not a convicted felon, or if I am, my right to vote has been restored.” Individuals can check this box in the same way that they affirm they are U.S. Citizens (see below for an example of how to fill out the Eligibility section of the form). Starting on January 8th you can also register online via the Florida Online Voter Registration System. In the mean time, if you’re planning to register on the 8th or soon after, we encourage you to sign up through our website and we’ll send you information when it’s time to register.

Do Returning Citizens need to bring proof of a completed sentence before registering?

No. The responsibility of the citizen is to honestly affirm that, by completing the terms of their sentence, their voting rights have been restored – because, if they have completed their sentence, the voter’s rights have been restored.

What does it mean to complete all portions of my sentence?

We believe that “completion of all terms of sentence” includes any period of incarceration, probation, parole and financial obligations imposed as part of an individual’s sentence. These financial obligations may include restitution, fines, and fees imposed as part of a sentence or a condition of probation under existing Florida statute. That said, fees not specifically identified as part of a sentence or a condition of probation are therefore not necessary for ‘completion of sentence’ and thus, do not need to be paid before an individual may register. These are the policies used by the Office of Offender Review to determine “completion of sentence” and therefore consistent with current state practices.

Will there be obstacles to Amendment 4 implementation? If so, what are those obstacles?

We are very confident in the strength of Amendment 4’s language, and the protection it will afford Retuning Citizens who are qualified to register to vote, beginning on January 8th. We also understand that we may still encounter obstacles along the way, in particular around the process of verifying “completion of sentence.” Therefore, we have assembled a group of experienced attorneys, from several renowned organizations, who stand ready to defend any Returning Citizen that is denied the right to register to vote, and to defend any attempt to infringe on any of the Constitutional rights created by Amendment 4.