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Rep. Demings Introduces Voting Rights Legislation

September 11, 2020
Press Release
The ‘Every American Has the Right to Vote Act’ would ensure that a criminal conviction does not erase a citizen’s right to vote.

ORLANDO, FL – U.S. Rep. Val Demings has introduced the ‘Every American Has the Right to Vote Act.’ The legislation would prohibit states from denying voting rights to American citizens, regardless of prior criminal convictions. Rep. Demings is the former Chief of Police for Orlando, Florida.

Earlier today, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision which will deny the vote to 800,000 Floridians by requiring them to repay unknown, untracked, and hidden fines and fees before voting. Half of the 11th Circuit judges were appointed by President Trump.

Said Rep. Demings: “Every American should have the right and the responsibility to participate in our democracy. I enforced the law for nearly three decades. Anyone who commits a crime should be held accountable. But committing a crime does not remove your humanity and it should not silence your voice. A debt to society must be paid, but that debt should never include our right to vote.

“Efforts to exclude these Americans from voting—either directly or through convoluted poll tax schemes—go against our fundamental principle that our government must be answerable to the people. A criminal conviction does not erase a person from our communities or our country.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. Our fundamental rights are rooted in our basic humanity. We can live up to America’s promise.”