Group trying to restore felons' rights to vote after prison - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Group trying to restore felons' rights to vote after prison

By Tania Rogers

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Nancy Beckwith perfected her painting skills while in prison. She was sentenced to six years for selling prescription pills. She got her freedom back two years ago, but not her voting rights.

"Florida is one of the worst states for that. In other states, like Maine, people in prison vote and their rights are never taken away," said Beckwith.

Because she is a convicted felon, the state's clemency board would need to approve her request to vote again. "I was told that to apply for the clemency board there is a backlog of 10 to 15 years, before they can even look at your case."

That's why the League Of Women Voters Of Palm Beach County is gathering signatures to put an amendment on the ballot in 2016. It would restore the voting rights to Floridians with felony convictions after their prison time is over.

Linda Geller-Schwartz with the organization said, "We need five thousand signatures by end of March and ultimately we need over 600,000 signatures to get this on the ballot."

Several organizations are speaking at community events to get the word out. Meanwhile, Beckwith waits to see if anything will change. "Whatever I did, wrong or right, I paid my price to society, and I should have a clean slate."

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