Action Alert for all states: Sign petition to reinstate voting rights for returning citizens

Source: Rita Finley at change.org  Why this petition matters: As an American citizen, I firmly believe in the principle that every individual should have an equal right to vote. This belief is not just personal but also echoes the words of Lyndon B. Johnson who once said, “Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote. There is no reason which can excuse the denial of that right.” The issue at hand concerns returning citizens – individuals who have served their sentences and are now striving to reintegrate into…

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MS: Lifetime voting ban for felony convictions struck down in Mississippi

Source: abcnews.go.com 8/4/23 Mississippi’s lifetime voting ban for people with disqualifying felony convictions has been struck down in a new decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The court’s 2-1 decision will restore the right to vote for tens of thousands of Mississippians, according to the plaintiff’s council Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. The court ruled Thursday in the case of Hopkins v. Hosemann that by banning former offenders “from the body politic forever” they will be punished “beyond the term their culpability requires,” according…

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FL: Weaponization of Florida’s Legal System Being Used Against People on the Sex Offender Registry

Source: tampabay.com 6/9/23 Gov. Ron DeSantis vowed that if he wins the presidency he will “excise political bias and end weaponization” of the U.S. Department of Justice “once and for all.” “We have for years witnessed an uneven application of the law depending upon political affiliation,” he wrote on Twitter on Thursday night in response to news that former President Donald Trump has been federally indicted on charges related to mishandling classified documents. The tone was consistent with DeSantis’ portrayal of himself as fighting against liberal takeovers of powerful institutions.…

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FL: Republican prosecutor declined to pursue cases similar to those brought by DeSantis’ election police

Source: orlandosentinel.com 6/5/23 A Republican state attorney last May declined to prosecute six voter fraud cases that involved circumstances strikingly similar to the cases later brought against 20 ex-felons by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ election police unit and statewide prosecutors. The office of State Attorney Bill Gladson, whose district includes The Villages and five Republican counties, confirmed six convicted sex offenders in Lake County had voted in the 2020 general election, according to a determination letter obtained by the Orlando Sentinel. Read the full article

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FL: Orlando man arrested by DeSantis’ election police works to rebuild his life — again

Source: orlandosentinel.com 5/12/23 Peter Washington Jr. had never voted in his life. But, in May 2019, he filled out a voter application so he could join his wife and “do something good.” “We had just gotten married,” he said. “We were doing a lot of things together.” Days after submitting his application, he was cleared by the state and received his voter ID in the mail. In October of the following year, the couple walked into the Hiawassee Library, near their home in Pine Hills. “I was anxious … scared,”…

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FL: Officials: Florida Sex Offender Charged With Illegal Voting

Source: usnews.com 5/10/23 MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) — A registered sex offender in Florida has been arrested on charges that he voted illegally in the November 2020 election. Louis Palmieri, 77, of Melbourne, was charged Tuesday with false affirmation in connection with an election and voting by an unqualified elector, both third-degree felonies, according to Brevard County jail records. Melbourne is on the Atlantic coast, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) southeast of Orlando. Palmieri voted in the November 2020 election after signing paperwork claiming he was eligible to vote, the Florida…

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CA: California proposal would reinstate prisoners’ voting rights

Source: apnews.com 2/8/23 LOS ANGELES (AP) — California voters could decide whether to reinstate voting rights to people in prison on felony convictions under a newly proposed constitutional amendment. It would be a major expansion of suffrage for incarcerated people if passed. California would join Maine and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia, as the only states where felons never lose their right to vote, even while they are in prison, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The California bill, introduced Monday by Assembly Member Isaac…

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FL: Police cameras show confusion, anger over DeSantis’ voter fraud arrests

Source: tampabay.com 10/18/22 TALLAHASSEE — When police went to arrest Tony Patterson outside his Tampa home in August, he couldn’t believe the reason. “What is wrong with this state, man?” Patterson protested as he was being escorted to a police car in handcuffs. “Voter fraud? Y’all said anybody with a felony could vote, man.” Body-worn camera footage recorded by local police captured the confusion and outrage of Hillsborough County residents who found themselves in handcuffs for casting a ballot following investigations by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new Office of Election Crimes…

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FL: WESH 2 Investigates allegations of sex offenders being allowed to vote

Source: wesh.com 8/1/22 Morris ___ lives in Poinciana. Elections office records indicate he’s “eligible to vote in Osceola County.” His status is “active,” meaning he can vote next month and this November in Osceola County and in the 2020 general election, he did vote. Morris is also a registered sex offender. Because of this, he should be ineligible to vote under Florida law. WESH 2 checked online with the executive office of clemency, under Morris’s name and prison ID number. It confirms his civil rights have not been restored. By…

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Action Alert for WA Residents: Write Comments on HB 1078 to Restore Ex-Felons’ Voting Rights

[familysafetyfoundation.org – 1/18/21] This Thursday, January 21, the Washington House State Government and Tribal Relations committee will vote on HB 1078.  If this bill becomes law, voting rights will be restored to all Washington state citizens who have been convicted of a felony as soon as they are released from incarceration.  Under current law, voting rights are only restored after the person is released from community supervision and the person has finished meeting any legal financial obligations associated with the conviction. Information about the bill and a video recording of…

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Many CA Registrants Eligible to Vote

The State of California allows many, although not all, registrants to vote in every election (local, state, federal).  There are three basic criteria to determine a person’s eligibility to vote: (1) U.S. citizenship, (2) at least 18 years old on election day, and 3) not currently found mentally incompetent.  There are additional eligibility criteria for individuals who have been convicted of an offense, including a sex offense. “It is important that registrants know their voting rights,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci.  “In the past, some government employees have wrongly…

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FL: Florida can’t bar felons from registering to vote over fees and fines, court rules

[cbsnews.com – 2/19/20] Florida cannot bar felons who served their time from registering to vote simply because they have failed to pay all fines and fees stemming from their cases, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday. A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Tallahassee federal judge’s preliminary injunction that the implementation of Amendment 4 – approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2018 to allow most felons who served their time to regain the right to vote – amounted to an unfair poll tax that would…

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Janice’s Journal: All Felons Deserve the Right to Vote

Although the next major election is more than a year away, it’s not too early to focus on who is eligible to vote. This issue is important because the total number of voters, in general, and the groups of people eligible to vote, could determine the result of that election. I am saying this while watching a struggle in Florida. A struggle about who may be eligible to vote in November 2020 and beyond. As the number of candidates for the 2020 election continues to grow, the State of Florida…

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Janice’s Journal: You May Be Eligible to Vote (CA)

The mid-term election will take place in about two months. And it is important that your voice as well as the voices of all eligible registrants be heard in that important election. Many, although not all, registrants in the State of California are eligible to vote. For example, you are eligible to vote if you are currently in jail provided that you are serving a misdemeanor sentence or are awaiting trial. You are also eligible to vote if you are on federal supervised release, mandatory supervision or probation. Finally, you…

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NY: Critics say pardons will give sex offenders access to schools

[timesunion.com – 7/24/18] ALBANY — Schools are generally off-limits for sex offenders, but not when it comes times to vote. A carveout in the state’s criminal trespass laws allows sex offenders to enter a school for the specific purpose of voting, including school district votes and other government elections, where the school is the polling site. The issue has jumped into the public’s consciousness as the result of outcry by some Republicans about conditional pardons recently issued by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo that could speed up the restoration of voting…

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NY: Ortt criticizes Cuomo’s parolee voting plan – does not bar sex offenders from entering schools to vote

[niagara-gazette.com – 6/20/18] The restoration of voting rights for more than 24,000 paroled felons has triggered concerns that dangerous sex offenders will be entering schools to cast their ballots on election day. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat seeking a third term this year, issued an executive order in April that made parolees eligible for conditional pardons for the intention of allowing them to participate in elections. By using his executive powers, the governor was able to bypass the Legislature. State Sen. Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, argued Wednesday that Cuomo’s move…

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Janice’s Journal: Voting Rights Act for Registrants May Be Required

Today is election day. Today California voters will cast their ballots in a primary election that determines the nomination of candidates for offices from Insurance Commissioner to U.S. Senator as well as the outcome of several ballot propositions. Because it is a mid-term election, the percentage of people expected to vote is low, perhaps as low as 30 percent. Missing from the number of people who vote today, however, may be many registrants, some of whom have been misinformed and told that they are not eligible to vote. For example,…

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IN: 7th Circuit prohibits sex offender from voting at local high school

[theindianalawyer.com 5/8/18] In a decision handed down one day before Indiana’s 2018 primary election, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found a rational relationship between an Indiana statute prohibiting sex offenders from entering school property and the state’s interest in protecting children. The court ruled the state does not violate a convicted sex offender’s voting rights by prohibiting him from voting at a polling place located in a high school, and instead requiring him to vote via one of three alternatives. In Brian Valenti v. Connie Lawson, et al., 17-3207,…

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