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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Make that *soon* to have rights restored



Earlier today, the governor touted that some 115,000 former felons have regained their civil rights over the past 14 months under a streamlined civil rights restoration process he championed.

Turns out, it's not entirely true.

Those 115,232 ex-offenders will soon have their civil rights restored. Hopefully, in time to register to vote before the August primary. As of last week, the real number of ex-offenders who officially had their rights restored was closer to 90,000, according to a database of offenders who have had their rights restored, which the Buzz requested from the Parole Commission.

Turns out there's about a four-to-six week lag time between when the Parole Commission has identified someone is eligible for getting rights restored and when it actually happens.

Today, the Parole Commission counted some 25,000 ex-offenders who have yet to have their official petitions signed, circulated and mailed said Parole Commission spokeswoman Jane Tillman. That petition is an ex-offenders' official ticket to register to vote, serve on a jury, run for office and hold various business licenses.

"They’re going to be granted. But they’re technically not granted until they are signed and the executive order is generated," Tillman explained. She says she's sure they'll be granted in time for them to register to vote.

That bureaucracy has a race against the clock. All 25,000 ex-offenders whose petitions have yet to be signed will have to receive their petitions by Monday, July 28th to register in time to vote in the Aug. 26th primary.

--Jennifer Libeto, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:24am]


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