ORLANDO, Fla. – Today, the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce announced its support for second chances and Amendment 4.
Mark Holden, Chair of Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce and senior vice president of Koch Industries, Inc, said, “We believe that when individuals have served their sentences and paid their debts as ordered by a judge, they should be eligible to vote. In the Sunshine State, Floridians are permanently excluded from voting because of a prior felony conviction – one of only four states with a lifetime ban. If we want people returning to society to be productive, law abiding citizens, we need to treat them like full-fledged citizens. We support the Florida Second Chances campaign, which would return the eligibility to vote to Floridians who have done their time and paid their debts in full. This will make our society safer, our system more just, and provide for real second chances for returning citizens.”
The mission of Freedom Partners is “protecting freedom and expanding opportunity for every American—no matter where they live, what they do or how much money they have.”
Desmond Meade, Chair of Floridians for a Fair Democracy and spokesperson for the Second Chances Campaign, said, “We are grateful for the endorsement of the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce. There is a simple reason why this measure has strong, broad support across the ideological spectrum: because Americans believe that when a debt is paid, it’s paid. Amendment 4 restores a person’s eligibility to vote only after they have completed all terms of their sentence as ordered by a judge. It fixes a broken system for our family members, friends, and neighbors that have paid their debt in full and have earned the opportunity to participate in and give back to their communities.”
Florida enshrined disenfranchisement in its constitution 150 years ago. Today, Florida is one of only four states with a lifetime ban on voting and permanently excludes from voting 1.4 million Floridians who have served their time and completed all terms of their sentence as ordered by a judge – including parole, probation, and restitution. The amendment specifically excludes those individuals who have committed murder or a felony sexual offense.