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Today, voters in Florida approved Amendment 4 and the restoration of voting rights to 1.4 million fellow residents in a victory for a grassroots movement that collected over a million signatures to get the measure on the ballot.
“This citizen-driven effort succeeded in changing a law that disenfranchised more residents than any other state,” said Myrna Pérez, Deputy Director of the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “Today, voters welcomed 1.4 million fellow Floridians back to full citizenship and made democracy more inclusive.”
The Brennan Center for Justice helped draft the measure, which was spearheaded by the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition.
“With their vote, Floridians today decided that those who have fully paid their debt to society should feel and act as full citizens, not be relegated to second-class status,” Pérez said. “Florida voters today set an example for other holdout states with similar lifetime bans to shed their shameful past. American democracy requires the full participation of citizens.”
The constitutional amendment affects people convicted of a felony who have completed all terms of their sentence, including parole or probation. It excludes those found guilty of murder or felony sexual assault, who would continue to be barred from voting unless the governor and cabinet restore their voting rights as it is done currently, on a case by case basis.
Amendment 4, known as the Voting Amendment, needed at least 60 percent of the vote to pass.