Republicans had a good night in Florida. Ron DeSantis won the governor race and former governor Rick Scott won the Senate race.

Both races were won by pretty thin margins, however, and a ballot measure was approved which could make a difference for future races at all levels, including presidential elections.

USA Today reports:

Florida passes amendment to restore voting rights for 1.5 million felons

Florida voters on Tuesday approved Amendment 4, which says that most felons will automatically have their voting rights restored when they complete their sentences or go on probation.

The amendment restores voting rights to former felons who served their sentence, including parole and probation, with the exception of those convicted of murder and sexual offenses. Currently, former felons must wait at least 5 years after completing their sentences to ask the Florida Clemency Board, made up by the governor and the Cabinet, to restore their rights.

A U.S. district judge found Florida’s current system arbitrary and unconstitutional in March, and the case is under appeal. If passed, Amendment 4 would impact 1.5 million Floridians. Florida is one of four states that disenfranchises former felons permanently.

My colleague Mary Chastain reported on this back in April:

Appeals Court Delays Changes to Florida’s System to Restore Felon Voting Rights

Last month, the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida issued a stay on Florida’s system to restore voting rights for felons. The court then ordered Republican Governor Rick Scott and three Cabinet members to adopt a new system by April 26 to allow convicted felons to vote.

The US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit blocked the ruling and decided the state does not have to immediately adopt a new system to restore the voting rights of convicted felons.

From HuffPost:

The Florida clemency board had planned an emergency meeting Wednesday evening to discuss changes to its system for restoring voting rights, but canceled it after the 11th Circuit’s ruling.

Former felons in Florida can request to have their voting rights restored, but there is no guarantee it will happen (some other states restore voting rights automatically). In fact, Florida is just one of four states that permanently disenfranchises people who commit a felony by default. After a waiting period, people who have entirely completed their sentences can apply to get their voting rights restored by the state’s executive clemency board ― which consists of the governor, attorney general, agriculture commissioner and the state’s chief investment officer.

Charles C.W. Cooke of National Review lives in Florida and points out some better news:

[Featured Image: NatGeo YouTube]


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