Floridians vote to restore voting rights to most felons


Florida started permanently barring felons from voting after the Civil War as Congress forced states to ratify the 13th and 14th Amendments guaranteeing all men the right to vote.

People convicted of murder and sexual offenses are exempt from the amendment and won't have their rights automatically restored.

Floridians approved a constitutional amendment to automatically restore voting rights to people with felony convictions once they complete their sentences, a historic move expanding the right to vote to about 1.4 million people and reverses a state policy rooted in the Jim Crow South. I can't cast a vote for anything.

However; adding more than a million people to the state's voter system could have broad implications in a state won by President Trump in 2016 by a razor-thin of just over 100 thousand votes.

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

"VOTE YES on Amendment 4 to restore voting rights to folks who have already paid their debt to society", Rihanna tweeted. The measure needed 60% to pass.

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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. Scott and other top officials met only four times a year to consider applications to restore voting rights, causing a backlog of more than 10,000 requests.

Florida Governor Rick Scott speaks during his election night party at the LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort on November 06, 2018 in Naples, Fla. Those people will still be barred from voting unless their rights are restored by the state clemency board, which consists of the governor and the three cabinet officers (attorney general, chief financial officer and commissioner of agriculture and consumer services).

Republicans like gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis and Gov. Rick Scott, nominee for U.S. Senate, said they were opposed. "One of the most important of our lifetime", social activist Shaun King tweeted.

According to the Florida state department, roughly 13 million citizens are registered to vote, with both Republicans and Democrats having almost 5 million party members each.

Others celebrated the long-awaited victory, which could shift Florida's future political climate.