State Watch

Florida will restore voting rights to felons

Florida will restore voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences.

Under the newly passed law, Florida will return voting rights to an estimated 1.5 million felons who have completed the terms of their sentence, including parole and probation. It does not apply to felons convicted of murder or sex offenses.

{mosads}The constitutional amendment required approval by 60 percent of Florida voters to pass.

Three polls taken in the days leading up to the election indicated support for the proposal was stronger than 60 percent, but supporters feared voter drop-off on down-ballot issues threatened passage of the issue.

The majority of U.S. states return voting rights to felons after the individual fulfills a range of requirements, but in Florida the process previously could take up to a decade.

Under previous law, felons in Florida were required to appeal their voting status directly to the governor through a clemency board. The four-person board met four times a year to hear cases and felons were required to wait five years after completing their sentence to apply.

Under Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) the state has restored voting rights to about 3,000 people in the last seven years, according to NPR.

The majority of the disenfranchised voters who will now have their voting rights returned are Democrats, according to a Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald analysis.

Tags Disfranchisement Felons voting rights Felony Florida

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