Advertisement

Florida voters pass Amendment 4, which restores voting rights to former felons

Click to play video: 'Florida’s governor is chosen, the senate race unknown and ex-felons won the right to vote' Florida’s governor is chosen, the senate race unknown and ex-felons won the right to vote
WATCH: While new Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been elected and the U.S. Senate race is still too close to call, there was one other group that benefitted from the midterms aside from the Republicans as a ballot initiative to restore the right to vote to ex-felons passed – Nov 7, 2018

Floridians have voted in favour of a law that returns voting rights to former felons once they have completed their sentence, according to U.S. media reports.

Amendment 4 was placed on the ballot for the midterm elections after some 800,000 people signed a petition created by Floridians for Fair Democracy, CBS affiliate WTSP reported.

The text of the amendment, also called the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, says that it aims to restore “voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation,” according to Ballotpedia.

READ MORE: Midterm ballot questions on marijuana, abortion and fracking could reshape state laws

Supporters said the state’s current system was too onerous. — it required felons to wait at least five years after seeing out their sentences before requesting the state’s clemency board, which comprises the governor and cabinet, to restore their voting rights.

Story continues below advertisement

The amendment will impact 1.5 million people in Florida, one of four states that takes away voting rights from former felons, the Pensacola News Journal reported.

The amendment won’t apply to people convicted of murder or sexual offences, who will continue to remain barred from voting unless the clemency board votes to restore their rights on an individual, case-by-case basis.

Florida was one of four states that disenfranchises former felons. Iowa, Kentucky and Virginia are the other three.

Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders were among those who spoke out in support of the measure.

Opponents argued that the measure treats all felons alike and takes away the ability to judge each individually.

WATCH: Andrew Gillum casts his ballot in Florida gubernatorial race

Click to play video: '2018 midterms: Andrew Gillum casts his ballot in Florida gubernatorial race' 2018 midterms: Andrew Gillum casts his ballot in Florida gubernatorial race
2018 midterms: Andrew Gillum casts his ballot in Florida gubernatorial race – Nov 6, 2018

In February, a federal judge ruled the state’s policy requiring felons to petition the government to have their voting rights restored was unconstitutional because it was lengthy, arbitrary and forced them to “kow-tow” to the whims of state politicians.

Story continues below advertisement

A spokesman for Governor Rick Scott said at the time that Florida‘s process for restoring voting rights to felons had been in place for decades and adhered to U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

— With a file from the Associated Press

Sponsored content