Florida to Give Former Felons the Franchise

Supporters of Amendment 4 celebrate its passage at an election night watch party in Orlando Florida / CJ Ciaramella  Reason

Supporters of Amendment 4 celebrate its passage at an election night watch party in Orlando Florida / CJ Ciaramella Reason

In Florida, one controversial amendment has passed and been added to the state constitution which will restore voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences, given that they were not incarcerated for murder or a sex offense.

The passage of Amendment Four with support of 64 percent of voters could reverberate beyond Florida into the 2020 presidential election due to the outsize role the battleground state often plays in deciding close national elections. You think about 1.4 million people who have been denied the right, even though they have done everything they can. Almost all states allow felons to vote after completing their sentences. The measure drew strong support and financial backing from the Walt Disney Company and the Seminole Tribe of Indians, which operates casinos in the state.

The target in MA was a 2016 law extending nondiscrimination protections to transgender people in their use of public accommodations.

When almost two-thirds of Florida's voters said yes to Amendment 4 to restore voting rights to 1.4 million felons who completed their sentences, they sent a moral message with political consequences that will reverberate in Florida and nationally for years.

"We want to build on the infrastructure that we've built here in Florida for criminal justice reforms", said Robert Rooks, Vice President for the Alliance for Safety and Justice.

The outcome in MA was a huge relief to LGBT-rights activists, who feared that a vote to repeal the 2016 law would prompt a wave of similar efforts to roll back protections in other states.

Farrell escapes sanction and can face Kiwis
Farrell is free to play for England against New Zealand next Saturday at Twickenham. We've lost a few games, we played tough and we won.

Virginia, Iowa and Kentucky remain the only states with permanent disenfranchisement policies on the books.

Jessica Jones (center) speaks to people gathered around the Ben & Jerry's "Yes on 4" Truck about Florida's Amendment 4 initiative at Charles Hadley Park in Miami, on October 22.

The greyhound measure will ban betting on greyhound races starting in 2021. Sonia Stratemann, a greyhound racing opponent, said the vote will save "thousands and thousands of greyhounds from being bred into a cruel industry".

In Democratic-leaning OR, conservatives unsuccessfully targeted two policies.

In Florida, as in most of the United States, black people are arrested, convicted and jailed in disproportionate numbers.

By Tuesday evening, more than 60 percent of Floridians casting ballots had voted yes, capping one of 2016's most inspired and politically important campaigns, an effort that sparked a grassroots army that will undoubtedly continue to participate in politics. A measure in Colorado could sharply reduce oil and gas drilling, including the method known as fracking, by requiring new oil and gas wells to be further from occupied buildings than allowed under current law.

Latest News