The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and American Civil Liberties Union of Florida launched a voter registration campaign Monday targeting convicted felons whose rights have been restored.
''Our nation's future is at stake,'' say campaign ads featuring models with booking photos over their mouths. "Your voice shouldn't be silenced by your past.''
Designed by a Miami ad agency, the ads will be displayed in minority communities across the state, including in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, and will be splashed on buses in English and Spanish.
Last year, Gov. Charlie Crist and the Florida Legislature changed the laws to make it easier for 112,000 felons to get their rights restored.
''There are tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people in the state whose rights have been restored and they may not know it,'' Howard Simon, executive director of the Florida branch of the ACLU, said Monday.
Workers and volunteers who register voters often say prospective voters tell them they are convicted felons and cannot vote.
Some activists believe the state has done little to inform such voters they have rights to vote. ''The kinds of efforts it would take to make it effective have not really been put in place,'' said Muslima Lewis, ACLU of Florida Voting Rights Project Director.
Gov. Crist recently issued an order for voter registration applications to be sent out with notices of civil rights restoration -- a move activists say comes too close to the deadline for voter registration, Oct. 6.
Read the full story at MiamiHerald.com.