Florida decides to restore felons' voting rights automatically

Election Results Florida Passes Amendment to Restore Voting Rights for Most Felons

Election Results Florida Passes Amendment to Restore Voting Rights for Most Felons

Voters in the USA state of Florida have approved Amendment 4, restoring voting rights to people in the state who have been convicted of felonies in the past.

The current system significantly affects African-Americans in the state: More than 20 percent of otherwise eligible African-American adults are unable to vote under this process.

More than 1 million previously convicted felons have had their right to vote restored in Florida. Prior to the vote, some 1.5 million Floridians, roughly 9.2% of voting-age residents, have completed their sentences without being able to vote.

Most states have some voting restrictions for people convicted of felonies.

Amendment 3, which was proposed by Voters in Charge, garnered roughly 71 percent of the vote on Tuesday night. Scott and other top officials met only four times a year to consider applications to restore voting rights, causing a backlog of more than 10,000 requests.

With its 29 electoral college votes and perennial swing-state status, Florida is tremendously influential politically.

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"As expected, Floridians have affirmed that they are opposed to offshore oil drilling and furthermore believe that they have the right to breath clean air when in enclosed workspaces", said Constitution Revision Commission member Lisa Carlton, a former state senator, said in a statement to The News Service of Florida.

Those were the first notable results as voters in 37 states considered an array of intriguing ballot measures - ranging from marijuana legalization to boosting the minimum wage to civil rights protections for transgender people.

"For too long, Florida has been an extreme outlier - our state's lifetime voting ban was the single most powerful voter suppression tactic in the country", he said. It was the deciding state in the 2000 election, and one of the most important ones in the 2016 election.

Florida's measure on felon voting rights was among those placed on the ballot by citizen initiative.

In 2011, Gov. Rick Scott instituted a policy requiring any Floridian convicted of a felony to endure a waiting period of at least five years after completing all aspects of their sentences, including parole or probation and paying fines. The governor then needed to personally approve their petition to have their rights restored.

Throughout the campaign, the ballot measure gained star-studded support from the likes of "Orange Is The New Black" author Piper Chapman, John Legend, Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, NFL stars like Warrick Dunn and even the Koch-backed Freedom Partners.

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