Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

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

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

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.

Any proposed new casinos in Florida will now have to get 60 percent of Floridian's votes on the ballot to get approved.

Previously, Florida was one of just four states in the USA that automatically and permanently revoked voting rights from anyone who had been convicted of a felony-level crime.

In Florida, language stripping the vote from felons was written into the state constitution 150 years ago, during the post-Civil War Reconstruction Era, as a means to prevent African Americans from voting. The win is a big victory for voting rights and the rights of formerly incarcerated people.

At the beginning of 2018, Floridians for a Fair Democracy collected more than 799,000 certified petition signatures, or about 33,000 more than the group needed to get the measure on the ballot.

For many former felons, the passage of Amendment 4 represents a shift in the way they view themselves in society.

"Remember, nothing is impossible when you have God on your side", said Meade's voicemail, who could not be reached on Wednesday morning but clearly sees this work as a calling.

"This amendment ensures that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling by requiring that in order for casino gambling to be authorized under Florida law, it must be approved by Florida voters", the amendment says. Florida is a swing state, and if the close defeats of Democratic incumbent Sen. The naming-rights sponsor of their home venue certainly has an interest in it being easier to expand gambling in the state of Florida.

"When transgender rights are being threatened nationally, we absolutely must preserve the rights we have secured at the state level", said Carol Rose, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of MA.

Neil Volz, political director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, the group behind the measure, said he and Desmond Meade, the group's chair, were watching the returns in a hotel room in Orlando together and broke into tears when it was announced the amendment passed. It required felons to wait at least five years after completing their sentence before they could file a request with the governor and Cabinet.

As black people are disproportionately represented among former felons, one in five black Florida voters are prohibited from voting due to a criminal record.

Like this: