TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - For the first time in over 20 years, Carolyn Clark voted in this month's Tampa city election.
"I was able to do that, and my voice was heard," said Clark. "Now I feel complete because I'm a part of society."
A former addict, Clark spent 10 years in prison on robbery and battery charges. She's been free almost five years. She got her right to vote back after more than 64 percent of Floridians voted 'yes' on Amendment 4 last November.
Now, a measure could make it harder for ex-felons to regain that right. State Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa, is sponsoring the measure.
“This bill effectively deals only with the definition of the completion of all terms of sentence, the definition of felony sex offense, the definition of murder and it authorizes the Department of State to begin the rulemaking process, to be sure there is some ability to being to try to authenticate voters’ eligibility,” said Grant.
The bill would require ex-felons to clear up any financial obligations, including court costs, fees and fines before restoring their voting rights.
"They want to take us a step back," said Clark. "Are we such a threat to democracy, to the voting? We have our own right to vote, our own choices, whether we're going to vote Democrat, non-partisan, Republican, that's our right to vote."
Supporters of the measure maintain it's to make the rules clear-cut regarding who can and who cannot vote.
“What we want to avoid is to make sure that during the next national election, in 2020, for the presidential election, that our state is operating on the same wavelength across all 67 counties," said State Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Naples. "That is what we all should be striving for.”
Not only did Clark vote in March, but she also worked at a polling site. She says she feels she's earned her right to vote back.
"That's all we want to do, is be a productive member of society," she explained. "We have paid our dues. Are we ever going to stop paying them?"