Florida Amendment 4, otherwise known as the “Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative,” was passed by Florida voters in November. The measure restored the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions (excludes murder or sexual offenses) after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation.
Rep. James Grant, a Republican, has introduced a bill designed to guide the implementation of Amendment 4 by “helping to define criteria for the restoration of voting rights to ex-felons. One condition would require felons to pay all court fees and civil fines outstanding before they can register to vote. The bill passed the Florida House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice last month and could come to another vote as soon as this week.”
According to The Tallahassee Democrat columnist Mark Schlakman, this “ballot initiative was lauded as the greatest expansion of voting eligibility since the 1960s when approved by voters in November. But if legislation advancing along party lines passes, the effect would be far less sweeping.”
Obviously, this is where the conflict lies. Democrats oppose the conditions the bill would impose and feel that it will disenfranchise felons who can’t afford to pay their fines and court fees.
The importance of the state of Florida in the 2020 presidential election, with its 29 electoral votes, cannot be overstated.
Florida is the nation’s biggest swing state and is critical to Trump’s path to victory in the upcoming race. If statewide 2016 voting patterns are repeated, the Democratic candidate for president would be able to win the White House by capturing Florida and one other swing state — Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin or Michigan.
We need only recall the November recounts in the Florida senatorial and gubernatorial races to know how the addition of 1.4 million felons (most of whom would vote Democratic), to the voter rolls, would impact the election.
Currently, Florida has 4.96 million registered Democrats, 4.7 registered Republicans and 3.6 registered independents on its voter rolls.
Thus, the significance of Grant’s bill.
Breitbart’s Aaron Klein reports that Soros-backed organizations are applying immense pressure to fight this bill so they can restore voting rights to 1.4 million felons in the state.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Brennan Center for Justice are both supported heavily by billionaire George Soros. These two organizations are working hard to defeat Grant’s bill. George Soros’ Open Society is said to have donated $50 million to the ACLU. It also funds the Brennan Center.
Brennan Center Attorney Sean Morales-Doyle commented that “This bill is just flying directly in the face of what two-thirds of Florida voters said very clearly.”
Julie Ebenstein, an attorney for the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project told Klein that Grant’s bill is “truly untethered to the text of the amendment. What this will do, in effect, is disenfranchise people who can’t afford to pay all of these obligations.”
Many groups (most of which receive funding from the Open Society such as the Sentencing Project and the Tides Foundation) and wealthy individuals (former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg) are now focusing on the state of Florida due to it’s strategic importance to the outcome of the 2020 election. The Democratic Party has already initiated “a massive ground game in Florida to register voters, increase turnout and lobby Floridians against President Donald Trump.”
We are going to commit ourselves to registering and engaging one million voters between now and 2020’s presidential election.
The road to the White House runs through Florida. We can deny Donald Trump a second term right here in the state of Florida.
How many states can you say, by themselves, have the ability to deny this man a return to the White House? I can’t think of a bigger, better, more important state than the state of Florida, than for us to send that message.
Unfortunately, he is not exaggerating how essential the state of Florida is to victory. Republicans must match and surpass the efforts that Democrats are making in the state. The passing of Grant’s bill, which could come to a committee vote as early as today, would be of great help.
Presidential elections can, and as we know have been, decided by the state of Florida.