Florida Restores Voting Rights For 1.5 Million Former Felons

Politics

Florida officially voted to pass Amendment 4 on Tuesday (Nov. 4), restoring the voting rights of 1.5 million people who have been convicted of felonies.

Amendment 4 earned 64 percent of the vote, the Pensacola News Journal reports.  The amendment, which needed at least 60 percent to pass, applies to ex-felons who have completed their sentence in full (including probation and restitution). Convicted murderers and sex offenders are excluded from the list.

Desmond Meade, president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, led the initiative that landed Amendment 4 on the ballot. FRRC celebrated on Twitter, thanking Floridians for voting to pass the amendment.

The organization’s next goal will be to “end the discrimination of Floridians with convictions.”

Florida is one of four states that permanently strips felons of their voting rights. This particular method of disenfranchisement dates back to the Jim Crow era and and hit a peak during the 1970s. According to Business Insider, nearly one in four black Floridians are prohibited from voting due to a previous felony conviction. Under the previous system, a convicted felon would have to wait five years after completing their sentence before requesting clemency.

The sluggish process goes through Florida’s Gov. Rick Scott and a clemency board, which meets four times a year.

READ MORE: Florida’s Voter Registration Process Rules Unconstitutional