Non-Citizen Voting in Florida: A Brief History

Registering to vote or voting by a non-citizen in Florida is prohibited under state and federal law. But it wasn’t always so. In 1868 Florida adopted a constitution which permitted non- citizens who declared their intention to become a citizen to vote. This was Florida law until 1894, when the constitution was amended to allow only citizens to vote. The 1868 Florida Constitution was consistent with the laws in many states which permitted non-citizens to vote, typically upon the condition that they declare their intent to become a citizen.  At various times up until 1926, 40 states or territories permitted non- citizens to vote.  In fact, the presidential election of 1928 was the first where non- citizens could not vote anywhere in the United States.

Thomas D. Shults, Esq.

About Thomas D. Shults, Esq.

Tom Shults is a Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer. He has represented clients in election and sunshine law issues, complex business and commercial disputes and probate and trust suits. He was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1983 and has maintained an active trial practice in state and federal courts for over 35 years. Mr. Shults successfully represented the Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections in Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections et al. v. Browning et al. , where the Florida Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of Sarasota County’s charter election law amendments. Mr. Shults has served on the Professional Ethics Committee of The Florida Bar and is the past Chairman of the Code and Rules of Evidence Committee of The Florida Bar. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Community Service Award of the Sarasota County Bar Association for his work with the Sarasota Mental Health Community Centers. In 2013 he was nominated for circuit court judge by the 12th Circuit Judicial Nominating Committee. Mr. Shults has served on the faculty of the Kessler-Eidson Program for Trial Techniques at Emory University School of Law and on the faculty of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy Program for Practicing Lawyers at Nova Southeastern University School of Law. Mr. Shults grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida and is a graduate of St. Petersburg High School (1973), Florida State University (B.S. 1977) and Washburn University School of Law (J.D. cum laude 1982). He is veteran of the United States Army.
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