Florida passes amendment to restore felons' voting rights

Florida residents to vote on felon voter rights initiative

However, that estimate included people convicted of murder and felony sex offenses, who will not be eligible under Amendment 4. Currently, felons must wait a minimum of five years after completing their sentences to apply for restoration of their voting rights.

The sluggish process goes through Florida's Gov. Rick Scott and a clemency board, which meets four times a year.

All U.S. states except for ME and Vermont bar felons from voting while they are incarcerated, but most restore that right when the inmate is released or following a period of parole or probation.

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Florida officially voted to pass Amendment 4 on Tuesday (Nov. 4), restoring the voting rights of 1.5 million people who have been convicted of felonies. The measure passed with 64.4 percent support, officials said. The question now is whether such a system passes constitutional muster.

Amendment 4 received very little organized opposition. Florida's most notable tight race was the presidential election in 2000, when George W. Bush narrowly won the presidency. "And it really is something that impacts all communities and all walks of life".

In February, a federal judge ruled the state's policy requiring felons to petition the government to have their voting rights restored was unconstitutional because it was lengthy, arbitrary and forced them to "kow-tow" to the whims of state politicians.

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