RuPaul’s Drag Race star Latrice Royale took to Instagram Saturday, 3 November to urge her followers to vote on 6 November.
Royale, whose real name is Timothy Wilcox, is a Florida resident who lost voting rights following a stint in prison.
‘I made a mistake, I paid for my crime, I pay my taxes, I spread love not hate,’ Royale wrote.
She continued: ‘I am my best self to date [but] I DON’T HAVE MY RIGHT TO VOTE! I urge ALL THAT HAVE A VOICE, PLEASE VOTE! Speak for people like me who can’t! I am proud! I am American but I can’t say that I’m a Proud American! We have much work to do my babies!’
Royale is referring to Florida’s prisoner disenfranchisement law. Under this law, even after someone has been released from prison, their voting rights aren’t restored. Currently, an estimated 1.5 million former inmates in Florida are banned from voting. It is one of just four states that permanently bars felons from voting. Needless to say, this disproportionally affects black and brown Americans.
Only the Governor has the power to restore an individual’s voting rights in Florida. A date to go before the Governor can take years to schedule, and doesn’t always result in the restoration of voting rights. On the contrary, it’s all about the whims of the Governor and clemency board that day.
Comedian John Oliver discussed this horrendous practice on a recent episode of Last Week Tonight.
Vote ‘yes’ on Amendment 4
This coming election day, Florida residents could put an end to felony disenfranchisement. An amendment on the ballot Tuesday is the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, also known as Amendment 4. A ‘yes’ vote on this amendment automatically restores the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, with the exception of those convicted of murder or felony sexual offense.