Poll: Floridians strongly support voting rights for felons

Two-thirds of voters are in favor, and nearly all have made up their minds
Published Feb. 28, 2018|Updated Feb. 28, 2018

A new Quinnipiac University poll shows that Florida voters overwhelmingly support restoring the voting rights of convicted felons, an issue that will be on the November ballot.

The survey shows that 67 percent favor the idea and 27 percent oppose it. The statewide poll was conducted Feb. 23-26 and has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.

"Every single party, gender, education, age and racial group supports this idea," Quinnipiac said in a release.

In another sign of widespread support for the issue, nearly all voters have already made up their minds, more than eight months before the election. Only 6 percent of voters surveyed said they didn't know or had no opinion about the issue.

Here is how Quinnipiac framed the question in its poll: "Do you support or oppose restoring voting rights to individuals who have committed a felony other than murder or sexual offense and completed their sentences?"

The restoration of felons' voting rights will appear as Amendment 4 on the general election ballot.

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker in Tallahassee recently struck down Florida's vote restoration system as unconstitutional.

Gov. Rick Scott and the three elected Cabinet members, all of whom are Republicans, changed the system, known as executive clemency, in 2011 to require all convicted felons to wait at least five years after completing their sentences before they can apply for the restoration of their rights.

In a recent court filing, the four officials said they should be able to revise the restoration system without any further direction from the courts.

The next Cabinet meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday, March 7. The meeting agenda does not include any scheduled discussion of the issue.

About 6 million people in the U.S. have been permanently stripped of their voting rights because of a felony conviction. About 1.5 million of them, or one-fourth of the total, are in Florida.