Over 1 million people in Florida have regained their right to vote, after having lost them due to a previous felony conviction.
In former years, once convicted of a felony (which could range anywhere from drug charges to murder), a person would lose their right to vote in any election in the United States. In Florida, this meant that about 10% of the state’s eligible adult population could not vote on issues that could directly affect them. The impact of this law was worse on the African American population, as this meant that over 20% of eligible adult African Americans in Florida could no longer vote.
Convicted felons were able to appeal to whatever governor currently held office to try and earn their voting rights back. Former Governor Charlie Crist restored the voting rights of over 150,000 people during his 4 years in office. However, since Governor Rick Scott was put in office 7 years ago, that number has dropped to about 3,000 people.
Floridians voted on Amendment 4 to Florida’s Constitution. Amendment 4 states that if passed, this would, “automatically restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or a felony of sexual offense, upon completion of their sentences, including prison, parole, and probation.” 64% of Floridians voted yes on Amendment 4, meaning that over 1.5 million citizens of Florida have had their voting rights restored.