Florida voters line up behind constitutional amendments

For Yraida Guanipa, an activist released from prison more than 10 years ago who currently defends other ex-convicts' human rights the change

For Yraida Guanipa, an activist released from prison more than 10 years ago who currently defends other ex-convicts' human rights the change"is a light at the end of the tunnel

Amendment 4 passed by 64 percent and would re-enfranchise all felons in the state, save those convicted of murder or sex offenses.

Previously, formerly incarcerated Floridians had to wait five years after their release, then apply for clemency from the governor's office.

The movement to reform the state's notoriously strict restoration process was championed by the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, a bipartisan group led by convicted felons.

Amendment 4 reached the ballot after a grassroots initiative that collected more than 800,000 signatures.

Those were the first notable results as voters in 37 states considered an array of intriguing ballot measures - ranging from marijuana legalization to boosting the minimum wage to civil rights protections for transgender people. "When the 2000 election was affected by the felon purge list, we went to work to end Florida's system of lifetime felon disenfranchisement".

Of note on the supporting side of the amendment (meaning they want the citizen vote) was the Walt Disney Company - hello tourism competition - and the Seminole Tribe of Florida - hello casino competition - along with other organizations around the state.

Floridians approved a constitutional amendment to automatically restore voting rights to people with felony convictions once they complete their sentences, a historic move expanding the right to vote to about 1.4 million people and reverses a state policy rooted in the Jim Crow South.

Florida was among a minority of states that required additional waiting time or extra steps for felons to regain their voting rights.

Amendment 13 faced fierce opposition from greyhound breeders and owners and the National Rifle Association's Florida lobbyist, Marion Hammer, who urged members to defeat the measure, saying that a provision could open to the door to ban hunting and fishing. The gubernatorial and Senate contests are still too close to call.

Scott has said, "If you are a convicted felon part of what you did is you lose your rights and there ought to be a process to get those rights back". Most were drafted by state legislatures, but 64 resulted from citizen-initiated campaigns, including numerous most eye-catching proposals.

Both Democratic opponents, incumbent Democratic Sen.

People gather around the Ben & Jerry's "Yes on 4" truck as they learn about Amendment 4 and eat free ice cream at Charles Hadley Park in Miami on October 22, 2018. The board meets four times a year.

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.

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