Faith in Florida: Let My People Vote

Faith in Florida is carrying out a multi-dimensional voter engagement program rooted in African American churches and African American communities, with the purpose of raising awareness of the felony voter disenfranchisement law and how Amendment #4 would overturn that law.

The Problem

Currently, Floridians who have a felony conviction lose their right to vote for life, resulting in 1.68 million citizens disenfranchised from the most basic form of democratic participation. Florida’s Constitution grants the Governor and his/her 3-person Cabinet exclusive authority to restore civil rights. It is an arbitrary system, without any standardized guidelines in place to allow for objective and prudent decision making. Current law, allows the Governor sole discretion to make subjective determinations without any checks and balances in place to counter potential abuses of power. As it stands, Florida’s returning citizens have less than a 1% chance of having his or her rights restored, while over 99% remain permanently excluded from voting for life. The 1.68 million citizens barred from voting represents 10% of the state’s voting population, also the highest in the nation. Furthermore, the “war on drugs”, coupled with the over-policing of minority communities, has exacerbated the impact on communities of color, and has resulted in nearly a quarter of the voting-age African American population excluded from voting for life.

The Solution

The program will activate and align 175 churches in a high commitment level of voter engagement participation practices (church in-reach + community outreach), and engage another 150 churches in a low commitment level of voter engagement participation practices (church in-reach). Through the participation of these churches a minimum of150,000 conversations with (mostly) Black voters will be conducted about the importance of voting and the possibility to restore voting rights for 1.5 million Floridians.

Planned Use Of Funds

We would utilize funding to purchase voting pledge cards that would be distributed within congregations during worship service. Research shows that when congregants commit to their clergy to vote that it greatly increases the likelihood that they will indeed vote.

Stage of Development

  • Early Stage
  • Established Prototype
  • Scaling
  • Other

Organization to Receive Funds

Faith in Florida

This project was nominated by: