13,000 Rights Restoration Letters Gathering Dust in Tallahassee

Voting RightsThis week, we made a bombshell discovery in our work defending the right to vote in Florida against voter suppression. A public records request we filed with the Florida Parole Commission has uncovered 17,604 Restoration of Civil Rights (RCR) certificates that were returned to the Parole Commission as “undeliverable.”

That means over 17,000 formerly-incarcerated Floridians have had their voting and civil rights restored but haven’t received official notice from the state. After further investigation, we found that about 77% of the citizens who had the right to vote but haven’t received their notices – 13,517 Florida citizens – haven’t registered to vote yet, and may not even know that they have the right to vote at all.

The ACLU is encouraging Florida citizens who applied to have their rights restored but who have not received a response from the state to either:

  • call the Florida Parole Commission at 1-800-435-8286;
  • visit the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) website at www.restorerights.org, and click “How to Restore Rights” to learn about checking your status.
  • or contact your local county Supervisor of Elections office for assistance in checking your status and determining whether you are eligible to vote.

It should be no surprise that Governor Scott, who rolled back the rights restoration reforms of his predecessor, hasn’t done more to help the Parole Commission contact these citizens about their voting rights. As ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon put it, “The contrast between the baseless claims that Governor Scott has made about voter fraud and the lengths to which he has gone to make voting more difficult, and the inattention to the thousands of voting rights restoration certifications gathering dust in the capitol could not be sharper.”

Read our press release to learn more about this week’s discovery, Florida’s system of lifetime disfranchisement for former felons, and the work the ACLU is doing to reform it.


23 Responses to “13,000 Rights Restoration Letters Gathering Dust in Tallahassee”

  1. 1 bond pace August 3, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    In 2002, I had been deemed as a sex offender, at no time was I counseled that as such it would be a lifetime sentence, during my hearing with the judge and district attorney , the judge would not listen to the district attorney and my public attorney who was deaf and mute, and he would not accept telephone conversations, which would have proved entrapment. And after 6 months of checking my computers they found nothing but the judge said the Sheriff could keep them. After 5 years probation, with sex offender classes each week, when I was released from probation, my probation officer gave me a release letter that stated he would submit my release for restoration of my civil rights. I had no contact with my victim (internet entrapment by police officer’s) only a few emails and 1 telephone conversation which if allowed would have proved entrapment. It is now 2012 and I still do not have my civil rights and am considered a lifetime sex offender on the internet and required to register 2 times a year. Murder’s get off easier …….

  2. 2 susie Copeland August 3, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    What a doggone shame. Instead of serving people of Florida we have those who were elected to serve, using tactics to hinder indivuals one of their basic rights–the right to vote.

  3. 4 Marilyn & James Keegan August 3, 2012 at 8:33 pm


  4. 6 Darryl Lynn "Deac" Jones August 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    On June 20, 2012:


    I just created a petition: National Association of Governors, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Reps: Create a Law about Automatic Civil Rights Restoration for Ex-Offenders, because I care deeply about this very important issue.

    I’m trying to collect 100 signatures, and I could really use your help.

    To read more about what I’m trying to do and to sign my petition, click here:

    It’ll just take a minute!

    Once you’re done, please ask your friends to sign the petition as well. Grassroots movements succeed because people like you are willing to spread the word!


  5. 7 Stehen Tognoli August 3, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Gov. Scott should act on the restoration of Civil Rights for former fellons. Restore them!

  6. 11 Stehen Tognoli August 3, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    I’m waiting.

  7. 12 Sharron Fagans August 4, 2012 at 12:28 am

    Governor Rick Scott and his Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll should be removed from office. Governor Scott is supposed to represent all Floridians, not just his cohorts and the super rich. Governor Crist did the honorable thing and along comes Mr. Corrupt and overturns the great work done by Governor Crist. It is time for a change in this country and Governor Scott and Lt. Governor Carroll represents all that is wrong in Florida. It is absolutely sickening that convicted felons who have served their time should continue to be punished by not having the rights restored automatically once their sentences have been served. Someone needs to act now to remove Governor Scott. Restoration of Civil Rights should be restored upon release. Punishment should end with the completion of the sentence given. Restoration should not have to be demanded. Florida has truly gone to the corrupt.

    • 14 Darryl Lynn "Deac" Jones August 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm

      Fantastic Susan! Please continue to pass it on and encourage people to sign the pertition! Thanks for the support!

  8. 15 Deanna Katz August 4, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Governor Scott, restore the Civil Rights of former felons who have served their time! Do not make this a political issue.

  9. 16 maureen o'reilly August 4, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    the criminals are running the store—-it’s no surprise they don’t want to be voted out

  10. 17 BOBBY HUTCHINSON, SR. August 4, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    hey here one for you , i have been out sinse 2001, still havent rights restored. call 850-264-8563 my cell , and i will tell (THE REST OF THE STORY ) GOOD DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. 19 Thomas August 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Mr. Scott is the most incompetent governor in the United States. Next time Florida let’s pick somebody who cares about the people.

  12. 20 Je August 6, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    You should be ashamed of yourself, Gov Scott…..we know that its politics over constitution!!!!. Let them vote…

  13. 21 Bea August 7, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    I hope someone is organizing with the same vigor the in North Carolina.

  1. 1 13,000 Rights Restoration Letters Gathering Dust in Tallahassee « The Tallahassee O Trackback on August 4, 2012 at 2:14 am

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