Florida approves ballot measure restoring felons' voting rights

Florida residents to vote on felon voter rights initiative

They're banning what? Why Florida's strange ballot initiative is raising eyebrows

Before the result, Florida was one of the four states that did not restore voting rights to felons after serving their sentences.

There are now 1.5 million ineligible voters in the Sunshine State who due to felony convictions.

More than a million convicted felons in Florida had their voting rights restored Tuesday.

Amendment 4, a high-profile measure explored as part of TPM's "Retreat From Democracy" series, passed, according to projections from CNN and NBC News.

Of note on the supporting side of the amendment (meaning they want the citizen vote) was the Walt Disney Company - hello tourism competition - and the Seminole Tribe of Florida - hello casino competition - along with other organizations around the state. But consider that some two-thirds of people in Florida with felony convictions are not black, and most have never served prison time.

Other amendments passed in Florida on Tuesday included a move to give voters the ability to authorise or reject casino gambling, and another imposing limitations on property tax assessments. More than 1 in 5 African-Americans in the state are disenfranchised because of the policy, according to an estimate from The Sentencing Project.

Businesses reward voters with free food, rides
You can get a free cookie with any purchase at Potbelly Sandwich Shop on Tuesday (Election Day) or Wednesday of this week. Lime is offering free bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters to use to and from polling locations, up to 30 minutes.

Florida Governor Rick Scott speaks during his election night party at the LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort on November 06, 2018 in Naples, Fla. In April, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo restored the voting rights of an estimated 24,000 people who are now on probation or parole.

Five days out from Election Day, voters were teetering between enshrining the amendment in the state's governing document and telling state lawmakers to kick rocks with 47 percent in favor and 34 percent opposed. Several people who appeared before the board this year said they had begun the process to get their voting rights restored over a decade ago. Almost all states allow felons to vote after completing their sentences.

The measure, which needed 60 percent to pass, garnered more than 64 percent of the vote supporting constitutional Amendment 4, known as the voting rights restoration initiative.

The measure even garnered celebrity attention - pop star Rihanna urged Floridans to approve the measure.

The results came in ahead of a closely watched gubernatorial race between former Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

Florida Governor Rick Scott addresses the Chiefs of Police (IACP) annual convention at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., Oct. 8, 2018. "One of the most important of our lifetime", social activist Shaun King tweeted.

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