Silenced: 1.5 Million Florida Felons Without a Vote

Grace spent 10 months at WUFT News looking into the struggles Florida felons face after they leave the prison gates with housing, employment and voting.

With the November election in sight, she led a team focusing on the third issue, which was on the November 2018 ballot.

From Florida to New York, she tracked down experts and political scientists who provided insight and analysis on the history of Florida’s civil rights restoration process and the proposed amendment. Her team sat down with a handful of current, former and prospective Florida governors to gauge their understanding of the issue, as well as the people directly affected by this issue: Florida felons.

In addition to their conversations with experts, politicians, community members and felons, she and her team dug through decades of data and watched more than 100 hours of clemency hearings to uncover the consequences of Florida’s voting rights policy over the years.

Findings included:

  • Gov. Scott’s administration denied 61.3% of civil rights restoration cases on the spot. 

  • Gov. Scott restored significantly less voting rights to felons than any other governor in the last two decades. He averaged 384 restorations/year, whereas the others restored rights to between 1,270 to 38,558 felons a year on average.

  • 17.6% of voting age African-Americans in Florida were disenfranchised due to felony convictions. This was true for just 8.5% of other voting age Floridians.

The full investigation can be read here, or you can watch the news special below.