politics

Floridians Are Showing Overwhelming Support For Amendment 4 Allowing 1.4 Million People The Right To Vote

@BenJerrysTour / Twitter

Floridians will be voting on a amendment on whether or not to extend the right to vote to as many as 1.4 million people. Technically, it would return the right to vote to these people, all of whom have felony records and have completed their debt to society (jail, probation, fees, etc.).

Florida is one of just three states in the country that legally prohibits felons from ever getting to vote for the rest of their lives once convicted. It’s voter disenfranchisement on the largest scale in the nation and it’s perfectly legal today.

Here’s the story behind the ballot measure that could change all of that.

Florida is the swampiest of swamps.

CREDIT: @VISITFLORIDA / Twitter

I’m from Miami. This is the home state of Jeb Bush. The home state of the “Florida Man.” This is President Trump’s favorite place to vacation. Politicians in the Sunshine State have consistently voted for measures and pushed for measures to restrict the rights of women, the LGBTQ community, African-Americans and any other group you can think of.

Amendment 4 does not grant voting rights to murderers or felonious sex offenses.

CREDIT: @LBC / Twitter

Many organizations feel that this loophole perpetuates the dehumanization of people convicted with those charges, but however you feel about this stipulation, 1.4 million new voters gives the 2020 election a whole new outlook.

Once a convicted felon has completed their sentence, they’re still going to have trouble finding a job and housing because of their record. At the very least, they should be able to participate in their democracy.

Gov. Rick Scott (R) has made the existing process for felons to regain their voting rights next to impossible.

CREDIT: @FLGovScott / Twitter

He has it set up so that these people have to wait as long as seven years to even apply. From there, it will take years for public offices to review the application.

According to the Florida Commission on Offender Review, of 30,000 applicants who have since applied through Scott’s process, only 3,005 have been approved. That means felons have a 10 percent chance of getting their voting rights restored, if they even have the resources to apply.

More than 27 percent of all disenfranchised felons in the U.S. live in Florida.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Vox. 23 October 2018.

Not only does Florida have some of the harshest voter restriction laws in the country, but it may even have the most felons of any state in the union. That means that 10 percent of the entire state of Florida cannot vote because of their felony record.

Floridians are rallying to change that.

CREDIT: @BeckNaftel / Twitter

The Second Chances: Yes on 4 campaign has folks phone banking from home, crafting personal postcards to mail out to Florida voters and even has an option to “text bank.” You don’t even have to live in Florida to participate in this campaign.

The Second Chances Campaign doesn’t have a lot of funding, but it’s sweeping support across the state.

CREDIT: @BenJerrysTour / Twitter

In a true grassroots movement, 1.1 million Floridians petitioned for Amendment 4 – the Voting Restoration Amendment – to reach the ballot. Their slogan?

“Floridians from all walks of life believe in forgiveness, redemption, restoration and, ultimately, second chances.”

Meet the founder: Desmond Meade

CREDIT: @yesto2ndchances / Twitter

Meade is himself a convicted felon.

Caption: “Since his release from prison in 2004, Desmond Meade graduated Summa Cum Laude from Miami-Dade College and finished law school at Florida International University. But he is still not eligible to vote. Vote #Yeson4 and help fix Florida’s broken system.”

Of the 1.4 million votes that could be restored, hundreds of thousands are Latino.

CREDIT: @yesto2ndchances / Instagram

Today, 21 percent of all potential black voters in the state are unable to vote due to felony records. We don’t know the numbers for Latinos because the Florida Department of Corrections under reports Hispanics by 250 percent according to research at University of Central Florida.

The most recent poll shows 74 percent support for the Amendment to pass!

CREDIT: @Public_Citizen / Twitter

This is incredible news, but you should know that the Yes to Second Chances amendment requires 60 percent of the vote to pass. That means it has a 12 point margin between now and November 6.

Remember how everyone thought Hillary had it in the bag? Don’t trust the polls. Get your friends and family registered to vote.

Democratic nominee for governor Andrew Gillum supports the bill.

CREDIT: @DisavowTrump20 / Twitter

Thankfully, Rick Scott’s term limit is up, though he’s still trying to run for Senate. There’s a lot you can do with your midterm vote this year, you guys.

He’s for gun reform, healthcare for all and is all about raising teacher’s salaries.

Puerto Rican Deputy Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State, Frances Colón, has thrown in her support.

CREDIT: @fcoloninFL / Twitter

Listen to her. She sounds smart.

Caption: “Hey #Florida, VOTE Yes on Amendment 4 to restore voting rights to over 1 million who have completed their sentences. It’s about second chances, preventing recidivism by giving rights and responsibilities back, and ending voter suppression. November 6, your vote is your voice.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo is also in favor of the measure.

CREDIT: @carloslcurbelo / Twitter

Curbelo is the son of Cuban exiles in Florida. He tried to join the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and was denied because of his vote in favor to repeal Obamacare and his unwillingness to cosponsor the DREAM Act. A Democratic challenger to his seat, which includes Miami-Dade County, forced him to adopt more positions that favor the Latino community.

John Legend is pulling through to support voters’ rights.

CREDIT: @FLRightsRestore / Twitter

Legend knocked on doors to ask Orlando residents to vote Yes on 4. According to The Tampa Bay, Legend said, “There are very few Americans that don’t have family members who have been through the system. As much as we think it’s certain neighborhoods, it’s certain folks, it’s really all of us.”

He came through for a charity concert and this is the crowd reaction:

CREDIT: @FLRightsRestore / Twitter

The charity concert happened in a high school’s auditorium and everyone was clearly screaming. I mean, same.

Volunteers are knocking on doors.

CREDIT: @yesto2ndchances / Twitter

If you’ve never canvassed before, I promise you’d be great. We were raised with our mothers slamming doors on us, so we have tough skin.

Students are rallying in their quads.

CREDIT: @BenJerrysTour / Twitter

Literally, Ben and Jerry’s joined in on the campaign offering free ice cream to anyone who registers to vote, while promoting the Yes on 4 campaign. BRB, gotta go buy more Ben & Jerry’s.

Young Democrats are canvassing in groups to talk to their neighbors.

CREDIT: @electyoungdems / Twitter

Folks from all different campaigns are throwing their hat in for Amendment 4 to pass. Look, it’s not like it’s some extremely progressive act. It’s just removing Florida from the worst state on voter suppression to just average.

Plus, if passed, this will be the largest voter rights win since woman’s suffrage.

So who is on the opposition? Guess.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. American Greatness. 23 October 2018.

Republicans voted NO on this amendment. It’s not even about the felons. It’s about securing power for their party. Everyone knows that anyone who has experienced a broken system votes Democrat.

Florida gave us Trump by only a few hundred votes. Imagine what a million would do.

CREDIT: @yesto2ndchances / Instagram

Anything less than restoring voters’ rights is perpetuated systemic racism and subjugation of power of minorities. The laws are already stacked against us. We’re already more likely to be arrested and convicted of a crime than a white person.

This is more than just breadcrumbs. This is power to change the future.

CREDIT: @yesto2ndchances / Twitter

If you have voting power in Florida, you have the power to grant that same right to people who have made mistakes and paid their dues. Put an end to Scott’s lifetime ban on voting. Every drop in the bucket is what makes a blue wave.


READ: Florida Passed Their First Gun Safety Measure In More Than 20 Years And The NRA Has Already Filed A Lawsuit

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What You Need To Know About The Migrant Caravan That Is Heading Towards The US-Mexico Border

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What You Need To Know About The Migrant Caravan That Is Heading Towards The US-Mexico Border

John Moore / Getty

For the past two weeks, thousands of Central American migrants have been marching through southern Mexico in the hope of reaching the United States. The total number of migrants now headed to the U.S. border is reported to have grown close to 7,200. The caravan, mostly Hondurans and Guatemalans, intends to seek asylum at the U.S. border after leaving their homes due to poor living conditions and fears of violence.

Over the past decade, there has been a rise in the number of people crossing the US border fleeing violence from  Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

Under current US and international law, those who seek asylum from Central America are allowed to apply in either in Mexico or in the U.S. The U.S. has asked Mexico to apprehend Central American migrants before they get to the border to help ease the backlog of migrants applying for asylum. The tactic of migrants traveling as a caravan is used for hypervisibility when traveling. For some, it’s a way to call attention to what they’re fleeing and what migrants have to go through and to some, it’s simply an opportunity for a better life.

Where did this caravan start and who organized it?

On October 12, about 160 Hondurans began their journey in hopes of arriving in Mexico or the U.S. to apply for asylum. Two days later, the caravan was more than 1,000 people, according to the Associated Press. While no person has taken credit for organizing the growing caravan, news outlets have reported that representatives from Pueblo Sin Fronteras, an immigrants rights group, have been quoted as the presumed leaders of the caravan. The group organized a similar, smaller caravan back in April. The caravan has already passed through Guatemala and is now passing through southern Mexico.

This has been of the most recognizable images of the migrant caravan as they crossed the Mexico-Guatemalan border last Friday.

Members of the migrant caravan broke through a Guatemalan border fence last Friday and rushed onto the bridge over the Suchiate River. Men and women, some with children and babies, began storming and climbing the barrier eventually tearing it down. The caravan was met by a wall of police on the Mexican side of the bridge. Police and immigration agents began letting groups of 10, 20 or 30 people through the gates if they wanted to apply for refugee status.

President Trump put blame on the Mexican government as police have been watching the caravan since crowds breached the fence and pushed past patrol agents.

President Trump has politicized the migrant caravan and has used it as a talking point as the midterm election approaches.

While caravans like this have been happening for years, President Trump has capitalized on the moment as midterms are less then two weeks away. He has taken to Twitter to criticize the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras for failing to deal with the caravan and even threatening to reduce U.S. aid to these countries. He has put the blame on Democrats for the immigrant caravan and has used it as a talking point at many of his rallies to spike interest in his base.

“Every time you see a Caravan, or people illegally coming, or attempting to come, into our Country illegally, think of and blame the Democrats,” President Trump said on Twitter.

Will the caravan make it to the U.S. border and what will happen if they do?

While many migrants in the caravan are hoping to make it to the U.S.-Mexico border some will elect to stay in Mexico (as of Monday, Mexican authorities had already received 1,000 requests for asylum from members of the caravan). The Mexican government has said that it won’t give out travel visas to members of the caravan and that people who don’t seek asylum in Mexico will be up for deportation.

If and when members of the migrant caravan make it to the U.S.-Mexico border, they will most likely seek asylum in the U.S. without papers. They are legally allowed to present themselves at the border seeking asylum but since there is a huge backlog of asylum seekers the process may take weeks.

These caravans are not set up for political purposes but as an act of a persons last hope to survive. As long as violence in Central America continues, these migrant caravans won’t be stopping anytime soon.


READ: The Trump Administration Has Been Blocked From Removing Thousands Of Central American Immigrants

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