Published: Wed, November 07, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Florida passes amendment to restore felons’ voting rights

Florida passes amendment to restore felons’ voting rights

One out of every 13 African-Americans in the US has lost their voting rights due to felony disenfranchisement laws, compared to one in every 56 non-black voters, the Sentencing Project report said. If another million people are added to the voter rolls, it could affect the balance of power in a state largely controlled by Republicans on the state level. It would not apply to felons convicted of murder and sex offenses.

For many residents, they say although they've paid a price for their crimes, the lingering effects actions are taking a disproportionate toll.

Before the result, Florida was one of the four states that did not restore voting rights to felons after serving their sentences. I can't cast a vote for anything. "For too long, Florida has been an extreme outlier - our state's lifetime voting ban was the single most powerful voter suppression tactic in the country, shutting more people out of the voting booth and out of our democracy than any other single law or policy in the country".

Former offenders in Florida could petition the governor for clemency to have their voting rights restored, but in 2011 then-governor Rick Scott, who is running for the U.S. Senate this year, rewrote the rules, making Florida the toughest state in the U.S. for felons to regain their voting rights.

Like every amendment on every ballot in every election, this is extremely confusing. But, one vote has already been decided and needs no recount. As of 9:45 p.m., the only amendment that was short of getting the required 60 percent voter approval was Amendment 1, which would increase a homestead property-tax exemption. Blocking felons from voting while also passing criminal codes that targeted black people was a strategy to keep African-Americans from the ballot box.

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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.

Scott was running for senator in the state this election cycle due to being term-limited out of office.

The move also attracted significant star power from singer John Legend and Orange is the New Black author Piper Kerman.

Per usual, the key races in Florida are nail biters.

Others celebrated the long-awaited victory, which could shift Florida's future political climate.

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