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Felony convictions and the right to vote in Florida

Being convicted of a felony can deeply change a person’s life. This is especially the case here in Florida. In the state, certain civil rights are lost if a person receives such a conviction. For example, a felony conviction triggers an automatic and permanent loss of the right to vote. There are only two other states in the whole country where this is the case.

Now, there is a route available for individuals convicted of felonies to get their right to vote restored in Florida. They could petition for a restoration of their civil rights. However, this process has its challenges. For one, a person may have to wait awhile to be eligible to petition. Under current state policy, such a petition cannot be made until five years have passed since a person’s felony sentence was completed.

Some argue that this system makes it too difficult to get the right to vote restored after a felony conviction.

The state’s current rights restoration system was struck down by a federal court as unconstitutional and arbitrary. However, it remains in place as that decision is appealed.

Also, an amendment has been proposed in Florida which would greatly change what impacts a felony conviction would have on a person’s ability to vote. The amendment would make it so the right to vote would be restored automatically for the vast majority of felons upon the completion of their sentence. The amendment will be on the ballot this November.

What impacts do you think Florida’s current system regarding felons and the loss of voting rights is having? What do you think about the major changes proposed to this system in the above-mentioned amendment? Do you think the amendment will get the 60 percent vote it needs to pass in November?

As this discussion of voting rights illustrates, when individuals are accused of felonies in Florida, what the ultimate result of their case is can have very long-lasting ramifications. So, what guidance individuals reach out for when facing such allegations is a matter of great significance.

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