Floridian Shares How Campaign Legal Center Restored Her Voting Rights

Diane Sherrill Standing under some trees, wearing an 'I Voted' sticker with an 'Early Voting' sign in the background.
Diane Sherrill votes for the first time in 18 years at the Supervisor of Elections building in Largo, Florida on March 12, 2020. Photo by Edward Linsmier.

Author: Diane Sherrill

My name is Diane Sherrill and I live in St. Petersburg, Florida. I came to Florida when I was 15 and now I am 58 years old and an active member of Cornerstone Community Church. I’ve worked in several different jobs over the years, including as a banker, and have raised two kids.

After going through a devastating divorce, I began self-medicating which turned into full-blown addiction and struggled with extreme depression in my 30s. I went through the depths of addiction and was in and out of Pinellas County jail. I felt so ashamed that I did not want to call family or friends to post my bail.

After struggling with addiction for several years, I started going to meetings and got clean. I have not had any criminal convictions since 2005, and I have been clean and sober for about 10 years with a sponsor. However, my nonviolent drug charges continue to hang over me. It has been real hard regaining employment and paying the court the fines and fees that I owe.

On the road to recovery, it was important to me that I get my voting rights back. I first applied to reinstate my voting rights at my church about five years ago. I am a smart person, but I could not make heads or tails of it because it was so confusing.

It was by God’s grace that in 2019 I was introduced to Campaign Legal Center and they helped me restore my voting rights, after becoming a client in the case to protect Florida’s Amendment 4.

Fortunately, I had the opportunity to vote early in the presidential primary last week. On Thursday morning, I walked into my early voting polling place in Largo, Florida and cast a ballot. It was a beautiful experience. In fact, it felt like a rebirth.

If you believe in second chances, I’m living proof.

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