ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Singer and actor John Legend was in Central Florida on Wednesday afternoon, performing at Jones High School – using his star power to get out the vote for Amendment 4, the voting restoration amendment.
“We know that all of us have our own political points of view, but what is so beautiful about this, as Desmond said, is that it doesn't matter what side of the aisle you are on.. it doesn't matter what background you come from... all of us believe in democracy,” said Legend.
The Grammy Award-winning singer participated in a forum organized by the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, before performing three of his hit songs.
In 2014, Legend launched the FreeAmerica campaign to reform the criminal justice system. He’s now throwing his support behind Amendment 4, which would restore voting rights for people with prior felony convictions, once their time is served. Supporters say not everyone would be treated the same.
“When we talked to the people of Florida -- and this is what they have overwhelmingly told us -- is that they don’t want murders or felony sexual offenders [to have their voting rights restored]. They believe that everyone should have and an opportunity to earn the eligibility to vote, once they’ve completed served their time,” said Desmond Meade of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition.
Representatives from the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition say that murderers and felony sex offenders would be excluded from the amendment, but some opponents still say the automatic restoration of voting rights is simply to soon.
"The department of corrections tells us that between one quarter to one third of felons commit a new crime within three years of release. The amendment deprives the people of Florida the chance to make sure that once a felon is released that they're willing to obey the laws,” said Michael Morley, a professor at FSU Law School.
Legend said he also went door to door across Orange County before the event to try and help get out the vote.