On July 29, 2019, I convened a press conference with community shareholders to announce a detailed plan to implement the 4th Amendment in Miami-Dade County. In November 2018, Florida voters passed the 4th Amendment with almost 65% of the vote. The purpose of the amendment is to restore voting rights for individuals who were convicted of a felony, with the exception of a conviction of homicide or a sexual offense.
The Florida legislature then passed a bill that was later signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis on July 1, 2019. This new law requires that people convicted of major crimes have to meet all the requirements set forth in their judgements and pay restitution before being able to have their voting rights reinstated.
Those of us in the system have created a plan that makes this law a reality and manages to comply with the will of the voters and the state legislature. There is no doubt that a true democracy depends on its citizens having the right and the opportunity to vote.
I want to thank my colleagues and community organizations who have all worked together on this plan to implement the 4th Amendment: Miami-Dade County Public Defender Carlos J. Martinez, Regional Conflict & Civil Conflict Lawyer Eugene Zenobi, the Secretary of the Courts Harvey Ruvin, State Senator Jason Pizzo, State Representative Kionne Mcghee, and especially the President of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) Desmond Meade. All have worked diligently to form this plan that complies with the state constitution and the most recent legislative directives.
I also want to mention the 11th Circuit Court of Florida under the leadership of President Judge Bertila Soto and Administrative Judge Nushin Sayfie who have contributed good information and collaborated in the creation of this very important effort.
The plan we have developed is carrying out what is right. I believe that reinstating the ability to vote is “intelligent justice” because, as the Miami-Dade Grand Jury concluded in 2017, those who have regained the right to vote tend to reoffend at a lower rate than those who have not regained their right.
I know that other counties in Florida are studying our plan to see how they can also implement the amendment and the law. It is my hope that they consider a plan similar to ours.
To see our plan in its entirety, please visit our website: www.miamisao.com
Katherine Fernandez Rundle