Florida approves Amendment 4, restoring ex-felons' voting rights

Amendment 4 will return voting rights to an estimated one million people convicted of felonies.

    Tuesday''s elections were seen as a referendum on Trump [Mark Makela/Reuters]
    Tuesday''s elections were seen as a referendum on Trump [Mark Makela/Reuters]

    Voters in the US state of Florida have approved Amendment 4, restoring voting rights to people in the state who have been convicted of felonies in the past.

    During Tuesday's midterm elections, largely seen as the first civic evaluation of President Donald Trump's administration, voters passed Amendment 4, which will return the ability to vote to an estimated one million people.

    The amendment restores voting rights to ex-felons who completed their sentences, although people convicted of murder or felony sex offences were excluded.

    Placed on the ballot by a citizens group, Floridians for a Fair Democracy, Amendment 4 put an end to restrictions introduced by Republican Governor Rick Scott, who put in place a slew of barriers that made it far less likely for ex-felons to regain their voting rights.

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    Owing to those restrictions and barriers, only around 10 percent of the 30,000 people who applied under Scott had their voting rights reinstated, according to the Florida Commission on Offender Review.

    The passing of Amendment 4 is likely to most benefit voters of colour in Florida, where an estimated one-in-five African American voters could not vote due to their criminal records.

    In Florida, as in most of the US, black people are arrested, convicted and jailed in disproportionate numbers.

    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.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News