Questions over how and when ex-felons in Florida get voting rights restored

Northwest Florida

Former felons in the state of Florida are expecting to get their voting rights restored in the new year.  Questions still remain over how lawmakers will implement the will of the people after voters overwhelmingly approved the amendment last November.  

On the surface, it would appear Amendment 4 quite simply authorizes most ex-felons to register to vote if they choose to.  According to published reports, there are questions over how this is going to happen.  Outgoing Governor Rick Scott’s office reportedly left no guidance on how to execute Amendment 4.  Additionally, the office of Governor-elect Ron DeSantis issued a statement in December saying the amendment, that he opposed, shouldn’t go into effect until the state legislature approves some sort of bill implementing it that he then signs.  There are also some questions from other lawmakers regarding how elections supervisors will make sure convicted murderers and sex-offenders still won’t have their voting rights restored, according to NPR coverage.  

Advocates argue the amendment is self-executing, meaning it just goes into effect and the legislature doesn’t need to take any action.  Whatever happens in 2019 it may be just delaying an inevitable influx of new voters into a closely contested state.  

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