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Politicians and advocates plan to celebrate Amendment 4 by registering people to vote; here’s how

The watershed law goes into effect today.
Florida Rights and Restoration Coalition president Desmond Meade speaks during a press conference during an event, which headlined John Legend, in support of Florida's Amendment 4 at Maynard Evans High School auditorium in Orlando on Wednesday. The amendment would grant convicted felons, who've served their time, the right to vote. (BRONTE WITTPENN | Times)
Published Jan. 8

Voting rights advocates plan to celebrate a watershed moment today, as Amendment 4 goes into effect across Florida, allowing most citizens who have finished a felony sentence to register to vote.

Local officials and advocacy groups both expect to join felons as they register to vote.

In St. Petersburg, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist will address media from City Hall before walking to the Supervisor of Elections office with felons as they register to vote, according to a news release.

"It is time to end this dark chapter of Florida's history of discrimination once and for all," the congressman said in a release.

"I, for one, cannot wait to see all my neighbors who used to be disenfranchised at the registrar's office and at the polls."

Tuesday kicks off what advocates believe will be a long effort to encourage an estimated more than 1.2 million Floridians to register to vote.

Several will register Tuesday with organizers from the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, which advocated for the law's passage.

FRRC President Desmond Meade told reporters Monday he plans to register himself Tuesday morning in Orange County, and expects the experience to be both "inspiring" and "solemn."

"I know I'm gonna cry," he said. "I will be shedding some tears, because my daughter is going to be registering me."

In Tampa, the nonprofit Organize Florida will visit the Hillsborough County Center with a group who will register to vote. That includes Fabian Hall, 40.

"It feels good to know I will be able to vote again," said Hall, of Tampa, in a release. "It was a non-violent charge and I did what I had to do. Now, I have the opportunity to help others like myself, and it feels good."

How to register to vote:

Any felon who is a citizen, not judged mentally incapacitated, and has had their voting rights restored can register to vote. As of Tuesday, that includes felons who have completed their terms of sentence and were not convicted of murder or a felony sex offense.

Eligible citizens can register to vote:

  • at any Florida driver’s license office or tax collector’s office that issues driver’s licenses or ID cards.
  • online at registertovoteflorida.gov.
  • by submitting an application form (English or Spanish) by mail.

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