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It required felons to wait at least five years after completing their sentence before they could file a request with the governor and Cabinet - who then considered the requests individually.

The restoration of felon voting rights has always been an issue in the state.

Florida voters passed a measure on Tuesday that automatically reestablishes voting rights for ex-felons, expanding the number of people who can vote in the state by approximately 1 million.

According to a 2016 estimate from the Sentencing Project, about 1.5 million Floridians finished their prison sentences but were ineligible to vote.

Florida's Amendment 4 was approved 64 to 35 percent. Millions of people were banned from voting for the rest of their lives, and that was an offense to folks who live in the state.

Despite the candidates' disagreement, the measure was actually supported by people on both sides of the aisle. The largest percentage of disenfranchised felons is white, he said.

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. "I think it is fair to the rest of the citizens of the state". Restoration of voting rights for felons in Florida has traditionally been something that Democrats have pushed for and Republicans have resisted, but in today's topsy-turvy political climate, it's unclear what will happen when felons who qualify are able to register to vote on January 8.

Consider that gubernatorial contender Andrew Gillum and incumbent Senator Bill Nelson were trailing in the unofficial results in their respective races by 34,000 and 56,000 votes, out of more than 8 million cast.

The American Civil Liberties Union has been a major supporter of the initiative.

"People - whether they're down the right, left, or don't have a political affiliation - can all grasp that idea", Volz explained.

Currently, there is no process in place for registering felons who have completed their sentence and paid their fines.

Nine states initiated measures concerning voting requirements and ballot access, including voter identification requirements, term limits, automatic and same-day voter registration, the ability to vote after a felony conviction, the ability to run for office after a felony conviction, and ballot collection.

While more than 150,000 Floridians had their voting rights restored during Democrat Charlie Crist's four years in office, Gov. Rick Scott's ascension to the office seven years ago put a halt to that. Many are laws that prevent people now in prison from voting while others are laws that prevent people from voting until they have finished parol or probation.

As a policy matter, this seems to me to be an easy issue. Why should we continue to punish them?

The right to vote, serve on a jury or hold public office would remain withheld until the short staffed Office of Executive Clemency got around to completing its review, under the Scott plan.


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