Million Floridians Will Have Their Voting Rights Restored as Amendment 4 Passes

Geneva Stokes
November 9, 2018

Separately, Florida's process of restoring voting rights to felons is winding its way through an appeals court case.

When almost two-thirds of Florida's voters said yes to Amendment 4 to restore voting rights to 1.4 million felons who completed their sentences, they sent a moral message with political consequences that will reverberate in Florida and nationally for years.

About 1.2 million convicted felons in Florida will automatically have their right to vote restored, thanks to a ballot measure that received about 65 percent of the vote Tuesday.

While the campaign had wide bipartisan support and little-organized opposition, some candidates stated they did not support the measure.

Nationwide, six million people can not vote due to their criminal records.

The 10 percent cap was put in place to protect taxpayers from large increases in property taxes in the future. "And it really is something that impacts all communities and all walks of life". Most in attendance had an open mind about restoring rights but did have apprehensions about the details of the policy.

Most major media outlets in Florida recommended a "No" vote on Amendment 3.

"When transgender rights are being threatened nationally, we absolutely must preserve the rights we have secured at the state level", said Carol Rose, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of MA. "We don't care about how a person may vote".

Convicted sex offenders and those convicted of murder will not be allowed to register to vote. Supporters say that the Amendment will provide much-needed reform to an overly-punishing system which disproportionately affects African Americans: around 17.9 percent of potential black votes in Florida.

"This was not a political vote".

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In Nevada and Florida, for example, Democrats have actually pulled ahead of Republicans as a share of the early vote this time. Election officials said most voters already have the photo ID they need to vote, such as a Wisconsin Driver License or ID.

"We showed that every ballot cast was a ballot cast with love", Meade told the Orlando Sentinel.

Supporters said the state's current system was too hard and arbitrary. Felons who lose their rights must wait five years to apply for restoration.

Defenders of the previous law, like Richard Harrison, of the Florida Rights Coalition, argued that the amendment fails to take into consideration the harm done to victims, the felon's post-release conduct and other factors.

Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Florida affiliate, said the result would remove "an ugly stain" from the state constitution. A further eight states provide for partial disenfranchisement.

"It has been a real embarrassment for Florida to be leader in keeping people away from voting", Paulson said.

After Jan. 8, the next hurdle will be persuading folks to register to vote.

Election Day 2018 is behind us, but it assured that at least one thing will be very different in 2020: the number of eligible voters in Florida. Now, they say, they need to get people to vote.

For Coral Nichols, a 40-year-old from Seminole, she'll register as soon as possible.

Ohio's ballot included an ambitious proposal to make drug possession a misdemeanor in an effort to reduce the state prison population and divert any savings to drug treatment.

"I am a changed individual". "I deserve a second chance".

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