March 28, 2018

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker of the Northern District of Florida in Tallahassee issued a permanent injunction requiring Florida’s Executive Clemency Board to establish a new voting rights restoration process for former felons by April 26.

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the state of Florida to clear a path for restoring voting rights to former felons who’ve served their time.

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker of the Northern District of Florida issued a permanent injunction requiring Florida’s Executive Clemency Board to establish a new voting rights restoration process for released felons by April 26.

“This Court is not the Vote-Restoration Czar. It does not pick and choose who may receive the right to vote and who may not. Nor does it write the rules and regulations for the Executive Clemency Board. Instead, this Court possesses the well-known and unsurprising ‘province and duty . . . to say what the law is,’” Walker wrote. “And this Court possesses the unremarkable discretion to find a means for the Board to comply with the law.”

The ruling comes in a lawsuit James Michael Hand and others filed in March 2017 against Gov. Rick Scott and the clemency board alleging that there are arbitrary barriers to restoring voting rights that violate the U.S. Constitution.

Fair Elections Legal Network and the law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll represent the plaintiffs.

Ted Leopold of Cohen Milstein issued a statement in the same news release. “This ruling continues to shed sunlight on what we as citizens hold so precious in our democracy, the right of all citizens to exercise their right to vote,” said Leopold, a partner and chair of the firm’s Catastrophic Injury & Wrongful Death practice.

The full article can be accessed here.