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Florida residents to vote on felon voter rights initiative

Florida residents to vote on felon voter rights initiative

Unlike the two property tax measures green-lit for the 2018 ballot, however, Amendment 5 will not impact tax and fee collections by county and municipal governments.

It doesn't apply to anyone convicted of murder or sexual assault.

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.

"'Kol hakavod' to the Reform Jewish communities in Florida - and across the US - who organized and mobilized to make this happen", the national Religious Action Center said on Twitter, using the Hebrew term for "well done".

With passage of the amendment, Florida joins the ranks of dozens of American cities and states that have been relaxing restrictions on voting for former prisoners in recent years.




In Florida, language stripping the vote from felons was written into the state constitution 150 years ago, during the post-Civil War Reconstruction Era, as a means to prevent African Americans from voting. "Florida's lifetime ban on voting by people with a criminal record created the country's largest disenfranchised population", The Sentencing Project criminal justice reform group said in a statement. While more than 150,000 people had their voting rights restored under Gov. Charlie Crist, Scott's predecessor, that number dwindled to just a few thousand under Scott. He also serves as the Executive Director of Florida Restoration Rights Coalition, the grassroots organization responsible for collecting Amendment 4 petitions.

Florida Governor Rick Scott speaks during his election night party at the LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort on November 06, 2018 in Naples, Fla. Scott boasted in Clemency Board meetings, where he presided alongside the three state Cabinet members, that "there's absolutely no standards so we can make any decisions we want".

Shortly after Amendment 4 passed, Trump-aligned Republican Ron DeSantis narrowly defeated progressive Democrat Andrew Gillum in the race for Florida governor.

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. It was the deciding state in the 2000 election, and one of the most important ones in the 2016 election.


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