Legal aid organization is now only nonprofit willing and able to provide registration advice to people with felony convictions seeking to vote.
Oakland Park, FL (September 1, 2022) –
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently announced the arrest of nearly two dozen people for illegally registering and voting. While some groups have been seeking volunteer defense attorneys to help those 20 individuals, Florida Justice Center has been focused on preventing thousands of future voter fraud arrests. In response to a new Department of Corrections policy placing liability solely on an individual or lawyer to determine eligibility to register and vote, Florida Justice Center announced today its attorneys will be conducting free voter eligibility verification checks using a thorough four-step process.
Already a recognized leader in rights restoration and criminal record analysis, Florida Justice Center (FLJC) is now dedicated to protecting individuals and the right to vote for those with felony convictions. In the wake of the arrests of August 18, 2022, FLJC found that unqualified, non-lawyers had been providing advice to individuals regarding their voter registration eligibility. Today the Department of Corrections recognized that only an attorney should be providing advice and making determinations on this matter, one that could land someone in prison for up to five years. With this new rule, Florida Justice Center is the only nonprofit organization in the state qualified and willing to provide voter eligibility assessments.
“People must stop registering voters without properly checking their eligibility under current Florida law. It takes an attorney to provide legal advice regarding fines and fees, restitution, supervision status, and disqualifying convictions,” said Director of Legal Services, Alex Saiz, Esq.
Florida Justice Center supports voter registration organizations that work to ensure access to the basic right to vote, but FLJC also understands that they have limitations on their ability to interpret the complicated qualifications in the Florida Constitution and statutes. FLJC is prepared to provide technical assistance to these organizations to ensure they are not contributing to future arrests.
Florida Justice Center guarantees that every client applying for voting rights assistance will be evaluated by a licensed attorney and provided a written report of findings to empower the individual to make an informed decision on their eligibility to register and vote.
“We believe every vote matters, but those votes need to be filed in accordance with the law. It is my mission to ensure no person is re-incarcerated for unknowingly violating this law,” explained Executive Director Jonathan Bleiweiss.
Visit www.FLJC.org/Vote to learn more and apply for an eligibility check.
ABOUT FLORIDA JUSTICE CENTER
Florida Justice Center is the state’s only legal aid organization dedicated to helping people with justice-involvement. Authorized by the Florida Supreme Court, FLJC works to lower the effects of an arrest through free and low-cost legal services, as well as connections to community service providers.
With a mission to empower individuals by providing legal support, community education, and removing barriers to success caused by the criminal justice system, FLJC succeeds in helping thousands of individuals each year.