Florida Passes Amendment Restoring Voting Rights to 1.5 Million Felons

08 November, 2018, 07:59 | Author: Donnie King
  • For Yraida Guanipa, an activist released from prison more than 10 years ago who currently defends other ex-convicts' human rights the change

The new law does not apply to anyone convicted of murder or sex offenses.

Any proposed new casinos in Florida will now have to get 60 percent of Floridian's votes on the ballot to get approved. While many states make it hard for felons to regain their voting rights, according to Oliver, the worst state of all "in this and arguably everything else is Florida".

Florida is one of four states that permanently prevents people with felonies from voting, even if they've completed their sentence, probation and parole. The win is a big victory for voting rights and the rights of formerly incarcerated people.

What's going on: The Sunshine State has been turning heads with what has been labeled by some as this year's "most bizarre" ballot initiative.

It is impossible to talk about Amendment 4's passage without noting its political impact one day after the state's two top Democrats apparently lost by very close margins-even though the moral and inspiration dimensions of the campaign can not be ignored.

"Today, when democratic values are on the defensive worldwide", he said, "Florida voters made a resoundingly clear statement that the state's shameful lifetime ban on voting is not consistent with the values of democracy".

"To work in society, to contribute...and have things that affect you that pass and not be able to have a say, and now to be able to say collectively that our voice will count is a huge psychological [change]", Alexander tells TIME.




The outcome in MA was a huge relief to LGBT-rights activists, who feared that a vote to repeal the 2016 law would prompt a wave of similar efforts to roll back protections in other states.

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.

Many states have conservative policies that disenfranchise voters (often, especially, people of color) but Florida is among the nation's worst offenders.

Amendment 4 received 65% of the vote, according to the Miami Herald, changing 150-year-old language in the state's constitution. Black people were five times more likely to be stripped of their voting rights than white voters in 2017.

"When transgender rights are being threatened nationally, we absolutely must preserve the rights we have secured at the state level", said Carol Rose, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of MA.

"One state - Florida - held the balance of power", the authors concluded.

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