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Florida decides to restore felons' voting rights automatically

Florida decides to restore felons' voting rights automatically”

Its stringent, complicated requirements led to a system that left one in five African-Americans disenfranchised, which is why Oliver called out the state so publicly. People convicted of murder and sexual offenses were excluded from this ballot measure.

For many residents, they say although they've paid a price for their crimes, the lingering effects actions are taking a disproportionate toll.

On Tuesday night, Florida voted overwhelmingly to pass Amendment 4, a massive expansion of voting rights in the state which will have significant implications for the electorate going forward. I can't cast a vote for anything.

"Today, when democratic values are on the defensive worldwide", he said, "Florida voters made a resoundingly clear statement that the state's shameful lifetime ban on voting is not consistent with the values of democracy".

Amendment 4 activists gathered the signatures of over 800,000 registered voters to get the amendment on the ballot, assisted by celebrity supporters including John Legend and Rihanna. But, one vote has already been decided and needs no recount. A 60 percent majority vote would be needed for this to happen. More than 1 in 5 African-Americans in the state are disenfranchised because of the policy, according to an estimate from The Sentencing Project. Scott boasted in Clemency Board meetings, where he presided alongside the three state Cabinet members, that "there's absolutely no standards so we can make any decisions we want".

Florida's felony disenfranchisement laws were, like those in many other states, a vestige of the its racist 19th century "Black Codes", which attempted to systematically criminalize freed slaves following the Civil War, and then bar them from voting. In April, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo restored the voting rights of an estimated 24,000 people who are now on probation or parole.

A spokesman for Republican 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. Virginia has a similar provision, but the last two governors have used their executive powers to restore voting rights of those affected.

The results came in ahead of a closely watched gubernatorial race between former Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. Almost all states allow felons to vote after completing their sentences.



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