MOBILE, Ala (WKRG) — Former Mobile County Commissioner Stephen Nodine is leading an effort to organize felons in Florida who recently got their voting rights back. Amendment 4 was passed by a 2-to-1 margin by voters earlier this month.
“Almost six million people voted to give ex-felons a second chance,” Nodine said.
Now, Nodine is among those trying to organize those felons to use their newfound political clout to push for prison and criminal justice reform in Florida. He says the clout those 1.5 new voters carry is tremendous.
“With the recent elections so small in margin, so close, you have to understand that every vote counts,’ he said. “And now there are 1.5 million new voters that are going to be added to the rolls in Florida.”
Nodine, a former lobbyist and public office holder, and a felon, has formed an organization called “Florida Second Chance Voters.” He says he’ll be busy in Tallahassee pushing both parties to come up with the best plan for reform and job opportunities for former convicts.
“It’s up to both parties to demonstrate what they can do in prison reform, drug rehabilitation and giving these people a real second chance,” Nodine said. “What we want to do is block vote this ex-felon vote, the 1.5 million, so we can really get some positive changes.”
Nodine says he expects both parties to actively seek the felon vote, and says neither should underestimate the importance of that vote. Nodine says felons could determine local and statewide races, and, in the key swing state of Florida, also national races.
“There’s no doubt that ex-felons who are now voting in Florida will determine the election in 2020,” Nodine predicted.
Nodine served on the Mobile City Council and later the Mobile County Commission. He resigned from the Commission after the shooting death of his mistress in 2010. A jury deadlocked on murder charges against Nodine, but he served three years behind bars on weapons and perjury charges. He now lives in Jupiter, Florida.
For more information on Nodine’s organization look for “Florida Second Chance Voters” on Facebook.