Gov. Rick Scott restores voting rights to Florida man who did time 30 years ago


Florida has some of the strictest laws in the country keeping ex-offenders from voting. But in a rare move, Gov. Rick Scott has restored the rights of one Fort Lauderdale man.

According to the Miami Herald, Roderick Kemp recently received a letter with an enclosed certificate stating that the governor and members of the Florida Cabinet issued an executive order on Jan. 13, restoring his voting rights.

In 1986, Kemp was convicted of cocaine possession. Unaware that people with felony convictions weren't allowed to vote, he continued to cast ballots and volunteer for political campaigns until 2016, when he was informed that his voting rights would be taken away. 
  • Photo via Salon

It's unclear why the state took so long to revoke his rights for a conviction that occurred three decades ago.

Kemp told the Herald that he believes he received a letter because he was featured in a Florida Center for Investigative Reporting documentary short about voter disenfranchisement three months ago.

He sent in an application to reinstate his voting rights last year, but was told he should expect to wait up to seven years to go through the process.

An estimated 6.1 million Americans, and 1.7 million Floridians, are disenfranchised due to felony convictions.

In March 2011, the Florida Clemency Board passed a plan that eliminated 2007 reforms made to the rights restoration system, making the process much more difficult for ex-offenders.

Gov. Rick Scott in particular is strict with the right restorations process. According to the Herald, since he took office in 2011, only about 2,300 cases have been approved for rights restoration. This is a major decrease from former Gov. Charlie Christ, who restored rights to 55,315 ex-offenders, and former Gov. Jeb Bush, who restored rights in 76,736 cases.

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