Published: Wed, November 07, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Florida grants felons who have served their time the right to vote

Florida grants felons who have served their time the right to vote

Thirty-three states have various laws disenfranchising felony offenders and those under law enforcement supervision, impacting an estimated 6.1 million potential voters, according to a 2016 Sentencing Project report.

The movement to reform the state's notoriously strict restoration process was championed by the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, a bipartisan group led by convicted felons. It required felons to wait at least five years after completing their sentence before they could file a request with the governor and Cabinet.

Demetrius Jifunza is a convicted felon and father of three children who wants to be able to fight for a better future for them by voting.

More than a million convicted felons in Florida had their voting rights restored Tuesday.

Amendment 4 reached the ballot after a grassroots initiative that collected more than 800,000 signatures. "The second thing that is so important about this is how we did this".

Amendment 13 faced fierce opposition from greyhound breeders and owners and the National Rifle Association's Florida lobbyist, Marion Hammer, who urged members to defeat the measure, saying that a provision could open to the door to ban hunting and fishing.

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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Per usual, the key races in Florida are nail biters.

Both Democratic opponents, incumbent Democratic Sen.

Florida is one of four states that doesn't automatically restore voting rights.

Tallahassee mayor and Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum waves at supporters after casting his ballot with his children on November 6, 2018 in Tallahassee, Fla.

Crowds who were gathered at an election night rally for Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee for Florida governor, erupted in cheers when cable news networks reported the ballot measure had crossed the 60 percent threshold it needed to pass.

Supporters of the amendment have said the old process of applying for restoration of those rights is prohibitively hard and arbitrary.

Under the current process, felons must appeal to the state clemency board for a hearing. Almost all states allow felons to vote after completing their sentences.

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