Florida’s Voting Restoration Amendment is a ballot initiative that would allow people who have paid their debt to society to earn back the eligibility to vote. Restoring a person’s eligibility to vote once they’ve fulfilled their obligations to society gives them an opportunity for redemption and a chance to be full members of their community, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.
Angel Sanchez, 2L
As part of their “Second Chances” campaign, the ACLU partnered with Miami Law’s HOPE Public Interest Resource Center and the National Lawyers Guild-UM for a training session for students interested in volunteering for phone banks calling voters in the weeks leading up to the November elections.
Support of the ACLU’s Second Chances campaign is just one of HOPE’s many Advocacy Projects.
“More than 1.4 million citizens now unable to participate in elections after serving their sentences will have their voting rights restored if Amendment 4 passes,” said Angel Sanchez, a Miami Law 2L who has been a part of the effort. “Florida is one of only three states with a lifetime voting ban. With voter education, we can change that.”
Sanchez is one of the 1.4 million. The former gang member was released from prison and graduated from the University of Central Florida with honors. He is currently ineligible to vote and has become a voice for Amendment 4.
“We are proud to engage Miami Law students in the Vote Yes on 4 initiative,” said Marni Lennon, director of the public interest resource center HOPE.
“Our students were dedicated to getting the initiative on the ballot and are eager to see it through in November. This experience educates our students on the importance of grassroots efforts and the power of using one’s voice to educate others. HOPE is proud to partner with the ACLU on the Vote Yes on 4 Initiative.”
Monica Espitia, a South Florida regional organizer for the ALCU, cited the poor drafting and plethora of amendments on the ballot as confusing to voters, but indicated that Amendment 4 is one of two citizen-initiated amendments on the ballot for Floridians in November.
“HOPE is coordinating phone banks to engage Miami Law students in educating the public about Amendment 4 from now until the election,” said Lennon.