Florida is one of only three states that strip all individuals with past felony convictions of their civil rights, including their fundamental right to vote, even after completion of their sentences. Among the civil rights lost is not only the right to vote, but also the right to serve on a jury and to hold public office. Restoration of civil rights is also necessary to obtain certain occupational licenses.
Individuals with a past conviction must have their civil rights restored through the executive clemency process. Only the Governor and his cabinet, sitting as the Board of Executive Clemency, have the power to restore civil rights. The entire process is complicated and takes years. Even then, since the decision rests in the sole discretion of these politicians, there is no guarantee that an individual's rights will be restored.
In response to this civil rights crisis, a broad non-partisan coalition was organized in March 2003 to launch a campaign for the restoration of civil rights for all Floridians with past felony convictions upon completion of their sentences. The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition ("FRRC") now has over 70 local, state and national member organizations. The FRRC is dedicated to achieving permanent constitutional reform to end the disenfranchisement of close to one million Floridians.
As we continue to advocate for constitutional reform, the FRRC is also the state's most active and vocal advocate for wholesale reform of the executive clemency process to make civil rights restoration virtually automatic. The FRRC and its member organizations also sponsor workshops throughout the state to assist people who have a prior felony conviction with the rights restoration process.