NAACP calls on restoration of rights for "returning citizens"

01/10/14 Janelle Irwin
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Tags: NAACP, Yvette Lewis, restoration of rights, Voting, Voting rights


The Hillsborough NAACP has a book filled with the names of people whose rights have been restored, but they don't know it.

photo by Janelle Irwin

Florida is one of three states with laws on the books severely limiting the ability of ex-felons to restore their civil rights, including the right to vote.

A "less severe" convicted felon must wait five years after completing his sentence, all probation and paid any applicable fines or restitution. In addition, the person must remain not only conviction-free, but not get arrested even if it doesn't result in charges.

The NAACP is trying to change the law in Florida so that ex-felons, or who they call returning citizens, have their rights restored as soon as they are out of jail or prison.

In the meantime, the Hillsborough NAACP is hosting an event Saturday at the Lee Davis Center in East Tampa at 9am. They are asking returning citizens to "Take Five" meaning find five people who can vote to vote for them.

We're joined by Hillsborough NAACP political director Yvette Lewis to talk more about the issue.

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