Florida passes amendment to restore felons' voting rights

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In passing Amendment 4, a Florida electorate that elected a Republican governor and appears to be on track to elect a Republican senator also voted to extend voting rights for people with felony criminal records.

This past Sunday in Tallahassee, where Gillum is mayor, those holding campaign signs at the "souls to the polls" early voting center talked about "inspirational" politics and what passing Amendment 4 would mean for them, their state and the country.

In 2007, then-Gov. Charlie Crist provided an opportunity for more than 100,000 ex-felons to regain their rights ahead of the 2008 presidential election.

It has been called the biggest restoration of voting rights in decades: Yesterday Florida voters approved a ballot measure to restore the vote to 1.4 million people convicted of felonies, a move that could have significant repercussions in the swing state. It will only apply to individuals who have served the entirety of their sentence, including prison time, parole, and probation, and will exclude those convicted of murder or felony sexual offenses.

Voting rights activists saw expansion to voting access, including Florida restoring voting access to felons who have served their sentences and "motor voter" laws automatically registering individuals to vote at DMVs. I think how we did it was also helpful.

"If it passes, neither you nor anyone else will ever be allowed to consider the specifics of the crime or the post-release history of the criminal before that new voter registration card is issued", Richard Harrison, executive director of Floridians For A Sensible Voting Rights Policy, told the League of Cities.

MI also passed a law significantly changing the way the state's political lines are drawn for congressional and state legislative districts. 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. The "Clean Missouri" proposal will eliminate the current system of drawing state legislative districts using a bipartisan committee.

Florida voters also voted yes on Amendment 13, the Ban on Wagering on Dog Races measure, with 69 percent. A disproportionate share of those arrested and incarcerated in Florida are minorities, particularly African Americans.

Several states, including New Jersey and DE, have already entered the sports betting market since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on the controversial pastime last May.

There was a long list of proposed constitutional changes, Floridians voted Tuesday to approve all but one of the 12 constitutional amendments on the midterm ballot, clearing the 60 percent threshold required to pass. Currently, the constitution reads that "every citizen" of the US can vote, according to Ballotpedia. With 17 percent of ballots reporting, the measure led 53 percent to 47 percent.

"When there is a human entering data into a system off of a paper voter registration form, there could be data entry errors", he said. Proposition 4 will create a seven-member commission-appointed by the Governor (1 appointment), legislative majority leadership (3), and legislative minority leadership (3)-to recommend redistricting plans to the Legislature that divide the state into Congressional, legislative, and state school board districts.

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