On Tuesday night, voters decided to restore voting rights to nearly 1.5 million nonviolent ex-felons in Florida.
With 70 percent of precincts reporting, multiple news outlets are now calling it for Amendment 4.
Florida is one of only three states in the country that didn't automatically restore the voting rights of felons after they have completed their sentences. However, the state constitution will now be amended to automatically restore the voting rights of those people – excluding those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense.
The amendment does have its problems. Paul Wright, executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center, argues that the ballot proposal could've done more and instead “perpetuates the discrimination and bigotry of disenfranchisement against a subclass of ex-felons – those convicted of murder or sex crimes,” and would enshrine that distinction permanently in the constitution.
Still, Amendment 4 is a massive improvement over Florida’s current law, which required felons to basically beg for their rights back in front of panel featuring Gov. Rick Scott and his cronies.
This is the most significant expansion of voting rights in America since the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution granted votes to women in 1920 and the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
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