Members of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission have taken initial steps toward loosening restrictions on felon voting rights. Under a proposed amendment, offenders who have served their sentences, including prison time, parole and probation, would have their voting rights automatically restored. The revision would apply only to felons who have committed nonviolent and nonsexual crimes. Proposed amendments must be approved by 22 commissioners to be placed on the 2018 ballot. Measures then must receive 60 percent of the vote to pass.
The proposal to change felon voting rights received bipartisan support from Floridians at each of the commission’s nine public hearings.
Roughly 1.7 million Floridians — more than 10 percent of the state’s population — have lost their voting rights due to a felony conviction, according to a 2016 estimate from the nonprofit Sentencing Project in Washington, D.C.