Elections officials across Florida say they expect former felons to flock to their offices to register to vote next month when a newly passed ballot initiative launches one of the largest enfranchisement efforts in modern U.S. history. But partisan politics and logistical questions are clouding the Jan. 8 rollout of a state constitutional amendment that could restore voting rights to more than 1 million ex-felons in Florida. Democrats and voting rights advocates cried foul this week when Governor-elect Ron DeSantis, a Republican and critic of the measure known as Amendment 4, said the Republican-controlled state legislature must first pass a law to implement its changes.
“I don’t see any way around that, regardless of whether you want it, you know, all to be implemented tomorrow or whether you are trying to kind of frustrate it,” DeSantis said in a recorded interview with the Palm Beach Post published on Thursday.
Representatives for DeSantis did not respond to Reuters’ requests on Friday for additional comment.
Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo in a statement called DeSantis’ move an “act of voter suppression by Republicans who want to pick and choose who should have the right to vote.”