Florida Passes Amendment 4, Restoring Voting Rights To 1.4 Million People

Charlene Craig
November 8, 2018

Florida's Amendment 4 restores voting rights for most convicted felons who have completed their sentences already.

Only in Florida, Kentucky, and Iowa are former felons barred from voting even after they have completed their sentences.

Scott has said, "If you are a convicted felon part of what you did is you lose your rights and there ought to be a process to get those rights back".

Felons will get voting rights automatically restored after serving their sentences, vaping in workplaces will be illegal and greyhound racing will be banned in Florida under a series of constitutional amendments approved Tuesday.

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Those were the first notable results as voters in 37 states considered an array of intriguing ballot measures - ranging from marijuana legalization to boosting the minimum wage to civil rights protections for transgender people. Amendment 4 was one of 13 ballot initiatives that Floridians considered this year, but it has received the most national attention, as it enfranchises the largest population in USA history since women's suffrage. Marissa Alexander, who was convicted of aggravated assault in 2012 for firing a warning shot at her husband, who she said abused her, has advocated for the the amendment to restore former felons' right to vote.

Unlike Florida, felons in many other states don't lose their rights or lose them only temporarily.

Sports betting and fantasy sports interests agitated against the proposal in recent months, but Sowinski had said the amendment "does not prohibit sports gambling", and "does not affect traditional fantasy sports pools".

Amendment 4 required 60 percent approval to pass.

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According to the Florida Constitution, the amendment must be implemented by the second Tuesday in January. That could alter the future election landscape in the nation's most populous swing state.

"We are on the cusp of history here in Florida", said Delaitre Hollinger, president of the NAACP's Tallahassee branch. "We showed the entire country that people from all walks of life can come together whether they're conservative, whether they're progressive, whether they're white, whether they're black, whether they're young and old, they can actually come together and move issues that make our communities safer, that increase contributions to the tax base and that make so much sense".

But even after Amendment 4, advocates say there is still more work ahead.

What happens to a person convicted of a felony varies from state to state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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