Thursday, 21 February, 2019


Florida Votes To Restore Voting Rights To 1.4 Million Former Felons

For Yraida Guanipa, an activist released from prison more than 10 years ago who currently defends other ex-convicts' human rights the change Florida Votes To Restore Voting Rights To 1.4 Million Former Felons
Bennie Garza | 07 November, 2018, 18:13

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. Amendment 4 was driven to the ballot by Floridians for a Fair Democracy, which launched the Second Chances campaign in support of the amendment in January, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.

Floridians voted Tuesday evening to restore the right to vote to some 1.4 million ex-felons in the state. "We are just ready to go forth and see greater things take place in the state of Florida".

Iowa, Kentucky and Virginia joined Florida in felony disenfranchisement, which dates back to the Reconstruction Era when many politicians sought ways to prevent African Americans from voting after the 15th Amendment was ratified in 1870. However, the state constitution will now be amended to automatically restore the voting rights of those people - excluding those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense. The governor then needed to personally approve their petition to have their rights restored. It faced little organized opposition.

Get unlimited digital access to our website for only $0.99 for the first month. The gubernatorial and Senate contests are still too close to call.

Florida was among a minority of states that required additional waiting time or extra steps for felons to regain their voting rights. Most were drafted by state legislatures, but 64 resulted from citizen-initiated campaigns, including numerous most eye-catching proposals.

Both Democratic opponents, incumbent Democratic Sen. With Democrats Andrew Gillum and Bill Nelson locked in toss-up races for governor and USA senator respectively, the passage of Amendment 4 is notable as an outlier that could boost the Democratic Party's chances in 2020 and beyond.

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.

Florida is one of four states that doesn't automatically restore voting rights.

Under the current process, felons must appeal to the state clemency board for a hearing. According to a 2016 report from the Sentencing Project, the state of Florida is responsible for 27 percent of the nation's disenfranchised population, and 48 percent of the nation's disenfranchised convicted ex-felon population.

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