Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Florida ballot initiative giving former felons the right to vote passes

Florida ballot initiative giving former felons the right to vote passes

Voting rights will not be restored to those convicted of murder or felony sexual offenses. Several people who appeared before the board this year said they had begun the process to get their voting rights restored over a decade ago.

When it goes into effect, an estimated 1.5 million people in Florida who have completed felony sentences but have not been able to vote could show up to the polls, according to the nonprofit Sentencing Project. Almost all states allow felons to vote after completing their sentences.

Amendment 4 required 60 percent approval to pass. The win is a big victory for voting rights and the rights of formerly incarcerated people.

Voters in 37 states considered an array of intriguing ballot measures Tuesday. To put that in context, 13 million Floridians registered to vote for the 2018 midterm elections.

Of note on the supporting side of the amendment (meaning they want the citizen vote) was the Walt Disney Company - hello tourism competition - and the Seminole Tribe of Florida - hello casino competition - along with other organizations around the state.

"This is proof when you speak up and work hard and fight for something you believe in, good things will happen", Stratemann said.

Shortly after taking office in 2007, then-Republican Governor Charlie Crist persuaded two of the state's three Cabinet members to approve rules that would allow the parole commission to restore voting rights for nonviolent felons without a hearing.

Both Democratic opponents, incumbent Democratic Sen. "A US district judge found Florida's current system arbitrary and unconstitutional in March, and the case is under appeal", the Pensacola News-Journal reported on Tuesday evening.

"Right about now, we can presently say that we have made history", said Rhonda Thomas, manager of the "Let My People Vote" campaign.

Amendment 4 received 65% of the vote, according to the Miami Herald, changing 150-year-old language in the state's constitution.

Separately, Florida's process of restoring voting rights to felons is winding its way through an appeals court case. Felons who lose their rights must wait five years to apply for restoration.

"One state - Florida - held the balance of power", the authors concluded.

Conservatives in OR targeted two policies - one allowing use of state money to pay for low-income women to have abortions, the other forbidding law enforcement agencies from using state resources OR personnel to arrest people whose only crime is being in the US illegally.

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