Florida votes to restore felons' voting rights


Approximately 1.5 million people are now barred from voting in the state because of a past felony conviction - a figure representing about 10 percent of Florida's adult population.

However, that estimate included people convicted of murder and felony sex offenses, who will not be eligible under Amendment 4. Since 2011, Scott has restored voting rights to just over 3,000 people.

Florida is one of four states that permanently strips felons of their voting rights.

Florida has never had an automatic restoration process, though many say under Gov. Rick Scott's administration the steps to have voting right restored grew even more restrictive.

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Florida voters Tuesday overwhelmingly approved an amendment to allow ex-felons who have served prison terms to vote, allowing another 1.5 million to take part in the 2020 presidential election. The question now is whether such a system passes constitutional muster.

Amendment 4 earned 64 percent of the vote, the Pensacola News Journal reports.

"This is an issue that transcends rural-urban-suburban divide".

In February, a federal judge ruled the state's policy requiring felons to petition the government to have their voting rights restored was unconstitutional because it was lengthy, arbitrary and forced them to "kow-tow" to the whims of state politicians. The ballot initiative required a supermajority of 60 percent support to pass.