In Historic Move, Florida Approves Automatically Restoring Voting Rights To Felons

Tuesday's elections were seen as a referendum on Trump

Tuesday's elections were seen as a referendum on Trump

Those with felony convictions will now have their voting rights restored automatically if they've completed their sentences, including parole and probation. But, one vote has already been decided and needs no recount. The language of the amendment excludes those convicted of murder and serious sexual offenses, but supporters still estimate that over 1 million Floridians who have served time in prison would become newly eligible to vote. The amendment restores the voting rights of ex-felons who were stripped of their voting right upon conviction.

"'Kol hakavod' to the Reform Jewish communities in Florida - and across the USA - who organized and mobilized to make this happen", the national Religious Action Center said on Twitter, using the Hebrew term for "well done". About 1.5 million people are affected. "The second thing that is so important about this is how we did this".

Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Florida affiliate, said the result would remove "an ugly stain" from the state constitution.

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Most states have some voting restrictions for people convicted of felonies.

"Today, Floridians from all walks of life and political persuasions came together to make Florida a better democracy and affirm our shared value that when a debt is paid, it's paid", Desmond Meade, chairman of Floridians for a Fair Democracy, a group that led efforts to pass the amendment, said in a prepared statement.

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. Florida's most notable tight race was the presidential election in 2000, when George W. Bush narrowly won the presidency.

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Iowa, Kentucky and Virginia joined Florida in felony disenfranchisement, which dates back to the Reconstruction Era when many politicians sought ways to prevent African Americans from voting after the 15th Amendment was ratified in 1870.

Conservatives in OR targeted two policies - one allowing use of state money to pay for low-income women to have abortions, the other forbidding law enforcement agencies from using state resources OR personnel to arrest people whose only crime is being in the USA illegally. Scott only restored rights to 10 percent of felons who applied for re-enfranchisement; as of October first, there was a backlog of more than 10,000 pending applications. 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". When Republican Gov. Rick Scott took office in 2011, he changed the rules of the process and required people to wait five to seven years before they could begin to apply.

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