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

08 November, 2018, 07:56 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Tuesday's elections were seen as a referendum on Trump

Florida voters on Tuesday approved a state constitutional amendment restoring voting rights to some 1.5 million people with felony convictions, ending a system that activists said disproportionately affected poor and black residents.

Amendment 3, which was proposed by Voters in Charge, garnered roughly 71 percent of the vote on Tuesday night.

The Initiative seeks to fully restore voting rights to these individuals - except those convicted of murder or sexual assault.

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. While not all of these ex-convicts will be enfranchised by the amendment, it's expected that about a million people will benefit.

On Tuesday night, voters made a decision to keep the exclusive right to decide to authorize expansions of casino gambling in Florida.

The ballot initiative for Amendment 4 to Florida's Constitution could majorly affect future elections in the swing state, which has been known for its very tight voting outcomes.

Felons who have served their sentences in Florida have in recent years been forced to appeal to the governor and his Cabinet for the restoration of their voting rights.

There are now 1.5 million ineligible voters in the Sunshine State who due to felony convictions.


According to a 2016 estimate from the Sentencing Project, about 1.5 million Floridians finished their prison sentences but were ineligible to vote.

Amendment 13 faced fierce opposition from greyhound breeders and owners and the National Rifle Association's Florida lobbyist, Marion Hammer, who urged members to defeat the measure, saying that a provision could open to the door to ban hunting and fishing.

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Republicans like gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis and Gov. Rick Scott, nominee for U.S. Senate, said they were opposed. "I think it is fair to the rest of the citizens of the state".

Our Revolution president Nina Turner said in a statement that "tonight's passage of Amendment 4, commonly referred to as 'Second Chances, ' shows that we, as a country, are moving towards a more just, equitable society that lives up to the value of 'one person, one vote'".

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The current policy requires these potential voters to wait five years after they complete their sentence and then file a request to have their rights restored, whereas most other states allow convicted felons to vote as soon as they've completed their sentences. The board meets four times a year.

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