The main backer of a proposed constitutional amendment that would automatically restore some felons’ voting rights after they complete their sentences says his group now has collected over 750,000 signatures. Desmond Meade, president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, also said on Wednesday that he’s confident the amendment will have a million signatures by year’s end. “The needle is moving,” he said in a phone interview. The Florida Division of Elections website showed as of the end of Wednesday that the citizen ballot initiative, known as “The Voting Restoration Amendment,” has 301,064 verified signatures. Initiatives need 766,200 valid signatures for ballot placement. Signatures must be spread across Florida’s 27 congressional districts, with the total number due pegged to voter turnout in the most recent presidential election.
According to the ballot summary, “This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation.
“The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case by case basis.”