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Florida approves Amendment 4, restoring ex-felons' voting rights

08 November, 2018, 07:55 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • Florida residents to vote on felon voter rights initiative

The only offenders who will be exempt are those who committed murder or sexual crimes.

Floridians voted Tuesday evening to restore the right to vote to some 1.4 million ex-felons in the state. The Sentencing Project estimated that as of 2016, some six million people were precluded from voting by virtue of their felon status.

Most Florida felons who have finished their sentences will be able to vote again in future elections.

Other amendments passed in Florida on Tuesday included a move to give voters the ability to authorise or reject casino gambling, and another imposing limitations on property tax assessments.

Scott has said, "If you are a convicted felon part of what you did is you lose your rights and there ought to be a process to get those rights back". The measure drew strong support and financial backing from the Walt Disney Company and the Seminole Tribe of Indians, which operates casinos in the state. Amendment 4 was one of 13 ballot initiatives that Floridians considered this year, but it has received the most national attention, as it enfranchises the largest population in USA history since women's suffrage.

Supporters said the state's current system was too onerous.

The movement to reform the state's notoriously strict restoration process was championed by the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, a bipartisan group led by convicted felons.

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With its 29 electoral college votes and perennial swing-state status, Florida is tremendously influential politically.

Essentially, based on research at Ballotpedia.org, which cites both supporters and opposition of the amendment, Florida Amendment 3 is created to take the legislation of gambling out of hands of legislators and put it into the hands of the citizens. But, one vote has already been decided and needs no recount.

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission has labeled the ballot initiative as an "environmental amendment" that promotes clean air and clean water.

Most states have some voting restrictions for people convicted of felonies.

"We are on the cusp of history here in Florida", said Delaitre Hollinger, president of the NAACP's Tallahassee branch.

Previously, formerly incarcerated Floridians had to wait five years after their release, then apply for clemency from the governor's office.

Various other methods of voter suppression likely account for why voter turnout is relatively low among those who have served sentences for felonies, and the lack of a favorite political party demonstrates that people in this category don't necessarily constitute a uniform voting bloc that would benefit one party over another.

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