Fairness triumphs with passage of Amendment 4

Frederick Owens
November 7, 2018

The idea of giving voting rights to violent felons like murderers and sex criminals isn't particularly a savory idea, but Oliver notes that only 18% of felons fall into that category-and Florida's amendment doesn't apply to them anyway.

People convicted of murder and sexual offenses are exempt from the amendment and won't have their rights automatically restored.

An estimated 1.2 million Florida residents who have served time in prison have regained the right to vote, thanks to passage of a new state constitutional amendment.

Florida is one of four states that doesn't automatically restore voting rights.

A number of major Jewish philanthropists contributed to the campaign, including George Soros, Seth Klarman and Stacy Schusterman. One out of every 13 African-Americans in the US has lost their voting rights due to felony disenfranchisement laws, compared to one in every 56 non-black voters, the Sentencing Project report said. Scott boasted in Clemency Board meetings, where he presided alongside the three state Cabinet members, that "there's absolutely no standards so we can make any decisions we want".

Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Florida affiliate, said the result would remove "an ugly stain" from the state constitution.

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But even after Amendment 4, advocates say there is still more work ahead.

At the beginning of 2018, Floridians for a Fair Democracy collected more than 799,000 certified petition signatures, or about 33,000 more than the group needed to get the measure on the ballot.

In the first statewide referendum on transgender rights, MA voters on Tuesday beat back a repeal attempt and reaffirmed a 2016 law extending nondiscrimination protections to transgender people, including their use of public bathrooms and locker rooms.

Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate who has conceded in Florida's gubernatorial race, supported the measure while his opponent, Republican Ron DeSantis, opposed it.

While many voters on the left side of the spectrum are having mixed feelings about some of the midterm turnouts, voters in Florida made history voting in a progressive piece of legislation known as Amendment 4.

Iowa, Kentucky and Virginia joined Florida in felony disenfranchisement, which dates back to the Reconstruction Era when many politicians sought ways to prevent African Americans from voting after the 15th Amendment was ratified in 1870. Voters there upheld a law allowing use of state money to pay for low-income women to have abortions, and also reaffirmed a "sanctuary state" law forbidding law enforcement agencies from using state resources or personnel to arrest people whose only crime is being in the US illegally.

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