Amendment 4 Should Not Be Celebrated

Despite all the hoopla, the implementation of Amendment 4 is nothing to be celebrated.

Contrary to the claims of its advocates, the goal of Amendment 4 was NOT the restoration of rights to convicted felons. If it was, ALL rights would have been restored. But convicted felons still cannot serve on juries, cannot serve in public office, cannot become police officers, cannot get a medical license, cannot possess a firearm, and cannot enjoy a plethora of other rights afforded to non-felons.

Proponents of Amendment 4 lied when they said Florida permanently disenfranchises felons, and that our rights restoration process was unconstitutional.

Florida’s constitution very clearly defined the process through which felons could have their voting rights restored; an approval from the governor with the concurrence of two members of the Cabinet. And it was completely constitutional.

The U.S. Constitution has even more concentrated clemency power than the state does. How do people convicted of federal crimes get pardons, clemency, or restoration of rights? Through the arbitrary decision of a lone executive, the President. In 1974, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that laws permanently prohibiting felons from voting ARE constitutional. The case was Richardson v. Ramirez.

Amendment 4 was really about turning Florida into a reliably blue state for Democrats. Convicted felons are far more likely to vote for Democrats than they are to vote for Republicans. Democrats have already begun to aggressively register them to vote. And at election time, Democrat activists will do all they can to see that they actually do vote.

Republican Governor Ron DeSantis won by 32,463 votes. Republican Senator Rick Scott won by 10,033 votes. Had Amendment 4 been in place and only 10% of the 1.4 million convicted felons voted, Democrat Andrew Gillum would now be in the Governor’s Mansion, and Democrat Bill Nelson would still be in the U.S. Senate.

On the presidential level, Donald Trump won Florida by 112,911 votes. With Amendment 4 now in place, future Democrat candidates will certainly win Florida’s 29 Electoral College votes (to be 30 votes in the 2024 election).

Florida’s voters were sold a pig in a poke. Democrats will win future elections by exceedingly large numbers. And when Democrats rule, we all suffer. Unfortunately, it’s too late to undo the damage now.

Mike Bates

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