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Tag: Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative

Jim Crow on Life Support? Florida’s Voting Rights Restoration Amendment and The State’s Effort to Mitigate its Impact

By: James Lomonosoff

On November 6, 2018, an overwhelming majority of Florida voters voted to pass Florida Amendment 4, also known as the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative. Prior to the Amendment’s passing, some 1.5 million Floridians were barred from participating in elections on account of past felony convictions. The objective behind the Amendment, as articulated by its primary sponsor, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, was simple enough: “to end[] the disenfranchisement and discrimination against people with convictions.” The language of the amendment, at least as viewed by its advocates, seemed equally clear: “any disqualification from voting arising from a felony conviction shall terminate and voting rights shall be restored upon completion of all terms of sentence including parole or probation.” Notably, the amendment did not restore voting rights to those convicted of homicide or felony sexual offenses. Continue reading

The Sunshine State’s Cloudy History of Returning Citizen Disenfranchisement

By: Shawn Syed

When Florida Amendment 4 passed by ballot initiative on November 6, 2018, voting rights advocates rejoiced. A hard-fought battle resulted in Floridians approving the measure with 64.55% of voters in favor of the Amendment. Amendment 4, or the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, was designed to automatically restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions upon completion of their sentences. The Amendment excluded those convicted of murder or felony sexual offenses. The battle for felon re-enfranchisement in Florida did not start with Amendment 4. Unfortunately, it also did not end with Amendment 4.

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