According to the Fair Elections Legal Network they have filed a class action lawsuit has been filed against Governor Scott and the Clemency Board to allow former felons to vote.
The Fair Elections Legal Network and the law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLCC have filed the lawsuit on behalf of seven former felons, according to a press release the organizations sent out.
According to this release, Florida is one of only four states that denies the right to vote to all former felons until they petition for rights restoration. Nearly 10,000 former-felons are waiting for a hearing on their restoration applications and 1.6 million Floridians are without the right to vote.
“Unlike the overwhelming majority of states, Florida simply has no law that tells ex-felons when their voting rights are restored. Instead, they must beg state officials to give them their rights back and this set-up violates our Constitution,” said Jon Sherman, Senior Counsel for the Fair Elections Legal Network. “The right to vote should be automatically restored to ex-felons at a specific point in time—the completion of a sentence—not whenever a politician decides you’ve earned it.”
In order to have rights restored, a person must petition the Clemency Board and must wait an indeterminate amount of time to be placed on a meeting agenda. According to the release, this could take as long as 10 years.
The law firm and the Fair Elections Legal Network state that accepting or denying of an application is arbitrary and not regulated with any laws, rules or criteria.
“Our most precious right is the right to vote. Ex-felons should not be denied the opportunity to have their rights restored nor to participate in fair and free elections. Yet, the Florida Clemency Board’s obstruction of restoring voting rights runs counter to everything we as Americans stand for. This important class action lawsuit will fight to restore these citizens' right to vote,” stated Theodore Leopold, partner with Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll.
The full complaint can be read here.