“Unforgiven,” a Florida Center for Investigative Reporting documentary short about voter disenfranchisement, won three prizes in the Green Eyeshade Awards — a contest open to journalists in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.
The team that produced “Unforgiven” — Alexandra Clinton, Adeel Ahmed, Ashwin Gandbhir and Asad Faruqi — took first place in Videography for Online or Television and finished second in Documentaries for Television and Politics Reporting for Online.
In the documentary short, FCIR told the story of Roderick Kemp, one of an estimated 6.1 million Americans, and 1.7 million Floridians, who are disenfranchised due to felony convictions. Kemp was informed in 2016 that his voting rights had been revoked due to a felony conviction in 1986, when he was 29, for cocaine possession. It’s unclear why the state took 30 years to revoke his rights due to that conviction. Prior to losing his voting rights, Kemp had been politically active in South Florida, helping to register voters and volunteering for Democratic political campaigns, including Barack Obama’s in 2008 and 2012. He also managed a field office for Charlie Crist’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign.
In the film — for which FCIR partnered for distribution with The Atlantic, TIME and the Miami Herald, among others — Kemp said of his situation: “It just seems unfair. When you look at my record as someone who’s been involved in the process, I’m qualified. You took that qualification away from me for something that happened a lifetime ago.”
Three months after being featured in “Unforgiven,” Kemp, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, had his voting rights restored by Florida’s Office of Executive Clemency. Now that he again has the right to vote, Kemp has become an advocate for restoring voting rights to felons who have served their time.