Florida passes Amendment Four, restoring voting rights to convicted felons

  • Florida passes Amendment Four, restoring voting rights to convicted felons

Florida passes Amendment Four, restoring voting rights to convicted felons

Voters passed an initiative on Tuesday's ballot that renewed voting rights to the majority of felons who have completed their sentences, including probation and restitution, according to an ABC News projection. The amendment needed at least 60 percent approval to be added to the Florida Constitution, and its success disproves the adage that people generally vote their own self-interest. People convicted of murder and sexual offenses were excluded from this ballot measure.

Most Florida felons who have finished their sentences will be able to vote again in future elections.

"'Kol hakavod' to the Reform Jewish communities in Florida - and across the US - who organized and mobilized to make this happen", the national Religious Action Center said on Twitter, using the Hebrew term for "well done".

Florida was one of four states that impose lifetime bans on voting for people with felony records.

A number of major Jewish philanthropists contributed to the campaign, including George Soros, Seth Klarman and Stacy Schusterman. Whatever the political implications, this is a resounding victory for voting rights.

Of those large numbers, African-Americans largely benefit from the measure due to the fact they numerically make up the most convicted felons in the country.

In March, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker issued an injunction for Scott to initiate a new clemency system to restore felons' voter rights by April.

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.

Prior to the amendment, convicted felons in the state had to wait five years after serving out their sentence and then apply with the Florida Clemency Board for the right to vote.

Stars like John Legend and Rihanna also expressed their support for the measure.

One estimate says that 10 percent of all Floridians who are otherwise eligible to vote have been disenfranchised by the law.

The results came in ahead of a closely watched gubernatorial race between former Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

Florida Governor Rick Scott addresses the Chiefs of Police (IACP) annual convention at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., Oct. 8, 2018.

"This victory is the culmination of decades of hard work", said the ACLU of Florida in a statement. It was the deciding state in the 2000 election, and one of the most important ones in the 2016 election.