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. At least 60 percent of voters had to approve it for Amendment 4 to become law. For the past seven years, felons have had to wait five years after completing their sentence to even apply to have their voting rights restored. 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. The group collected more than 800,000 signatures to qualify Amendment 4 for the 2018 ballot.
“Right about now, we can presently say that we have made history,” said Rhonda Thomas, manager of the “Let My People Vote” campaign. “We are just ready to go forth and see greater things take place in the state of Florida.”
Approval of the amendment ends Florida’s outlier status as the state with the most people permanently barred from voting — only two other states ban felons from the polls for life.
Amendment 4 restores the right to vote to convicted felons who have completed all terms of their sentences, including probation and restitution, but excludes those who are convicted of murder or sex crimes. 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).
Full Article: Florida’s Amendment 4 passes, what it means | Miami Herald.