After Amendment 4 passed, which restored voting rights to ex-felons who have completed their sentences (other than those convicted of murder or a sex offense), you would think that the backlog of cases waiting to be reviewed by the Florida Clemency Commission would be drastically reduced. After all, the only people who should be waiting in line to have their applications considered are those two sub-groups.

Not so, says Kelly Corder, a commission spokeswoman.The board still has to review petitions from felons seeking to have all of their civil rights restored, she said. “Those applications remain in place, even with Amendment 4,” Corder said.

Governor DeSantis’ budget for 2019-2020 increased the funding for the clemency board by $750,000. Again, you would think with those kinds of resources the commission would be able to hire more people to get through the 24,000 pending applications faster. Again, not so. “It would be more than hundreds, but I can’t specify further than that.” said Corder.

We have to wonder how much of that money was allocated to the clemency commission with the intent of clearing the backlog of cases that have been in the queue for years vs. how much money was allocated to the commission to fight back against automatic restoration of rights for those in the non-omitted groups.

Currently, you can expect to wait years (if not over a decade) to be considered after filing an application for restoration of your voting rights. That’s ON TOP of the seven years we had to wait to qualify for the right to apply.


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