Amendment 4 Implementation
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Amendment 4?
Amendment 4 to the Florida Constitution, passed by public referendum in 2018, restores the voting rights of most convicted felons who have completed their sentence.
- How was the Amendment implemented?
On July 1, 2019, an Amendment 4 implementation law was codified as Florida Statutes Section 98.0751 – Restoration of voting rights; termination of ineligibility subsequent to a felony conviction.
- What is a “conviction” for restoration of voting rights purposes?
A person is convicted of a felony if they are “adjudicated guilty”. In other words, a “withhold of adjudication” is not a conviction.
- Under the new law, whose voting rights may be restored?
Florida Statutes Section 98.0751(1) provides that the voting rights of felons who were not convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense as defined in Florida Statutes Section 98.0751(2)(b)-(c) may be restored “upon the completion of all terms of his or her sentence, including parole or probation.” You must be a U.S. Citizen to vote.
- What does “murder” mean for restoration of voting rights purposes?
“Murder” involves the killing of another person as defined in Florida Statutes Sections 775.33(4), 782.04(1), (2), or (3), and 782.09 or any similar offense committed in another state. This includes felony murder but excludes attempted murder or manslaughter.
- What does “felony sexual offense” mean for purposes of restoration of voting rights?
“Felony sexual offense” includes offenses that serve as a predicate to register as a sexual offender under Florida Statutes Section 943.0435, as well as offenses defined by Sections 491.0112, 784.049(3)(b), 794.08, 796.08, 800.101, 826.04, 847.012, 872.012, 944.35(3)(b)(2), 951.221(1), or any similar offense committed in another state.
- What does “completion of all terms of sentence” mean?
The Florida Supreme Court issued an advisory opinion advising that “all terms of sentence” includes all legal financial obligations, including fines, restitution, costs, and fees ordered by the sentencing court (in addition to any terms of probation or incarceration). See Advisory Opinion to the Governor Re: Implementation of Amendment 4, The Voting Restoration Amendment, 2020 WL 238556 (Fla. January 16, 2020).
- How can I determine the terms of my sentence and whether I have any outstanding financial obligations?
The Clerk of the Court maintains all records for criminal convictions. You may determine your sentence and confirm any outstanding financial obligations by inquiring of the Clerk of Courts via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or by visiting the Clerk of Court’s office and obtaining a copy of your sentencing document from them. Note that you may only obtain certified copies of your documents by appearing in person.
- What do I need to do if I have completed all terms of my sentence and fulfilled all my financial obligations?
If you have completed your sentence and fulfilled all of your financial obligations, you may register to vote through the Department of Elections.
- What if I have not paid restitution?
A restitution obligation cannot be waived. In order to register to vote more quickly, you must pay restitution.
If you cannot afford to pay the restitution, you will need to file a motion to modify your sentence, along with an affidavit of indigency, and request a hearing.
You may find a standard motion and affidavit here.
- What if I have completed my sentence, but owe fines, fees, and/or costs?
In order to register to vote more quickly, you should pay your financial obligations.
If you cannot afford to pay your financial obligations, you will need to file a motion to modify your sentence, along with an affidavit of indigency, and request a hearing.
- What if I have convictions in other jurisdictions?
The counties only have jurisdiction over their own cases. Therefore, if you need the court’s assistance, you’ll need to seek relief in each county where you’ve been convicted of a felony.