Celebrating as former felons register to vote
SARASOTA- Amendment Four officially took effect today, and former felons lined up as “returning citizens” to register to vote, and there was a celebratory atmosphere at the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office as they talked about what registering to vote means.
“It’s a humbling experience,” Jifunza said. “Because now I can fight for my children, now I can say yes, I am a returning citizen in the State of Florida.”
“Our young people should know that if they make a mistake that no one is going to punish them for the rest of their life, and keep them from being actually a citizen because a citizen should have the right to vote.”
Newly Sworn in Governor Ron DeSantis has called for a delay in new registrations until he signs a bill implementing new language… but the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition says it’s not necessary.
“The way the amendment is written and the way it is in the Florida constitution we are on the same page,” Jifunza said. “The highest court in Florida says yes they are able to go ahead and vote we are on the same page, the only reason why any of us should wait is to respect the person in front of us registering to vote, other than that move forward.”
Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner agrees.
“It’s in the constitution of Florida,” Turner said. “it passed overwhelmingly, about 64-65% of voters statewide, here in Sarasota County it passed. It’s my job to uphold the constitution, which is the supreme law of Florida, and we will do that, and that’s part of this process is to facilitate an individuals right to vote.”
Turner hopes these new voters keep up their enthusiasm.
“Registering to vote is just one of the steps,” Turner said. “The other part really to make your voice heard is to vote, and to vote in all elections,
Wesley Tunstall Jr. says you’ll see him there.
“I’m happy,” Wesly Tunstall Jr. said. “I’m grateful, I’m honored to be able to have the opportunity to vote again, it’s been a long time coming, and it makes me feel whole again.”
As of 5 PM, 20 people had registered to vote at the downtown Sarasota elections office, everyone can also register to vote online at registertovoteflorida. gov.