United States mid-terms: Florida restores voting rights to ex-convicts

Tuesday's elections were seen as a referendum on Trump

Tuesday's elections were seen as a referendum on Trump

The amendment restores the voting rights of ex-felons who were stripped of their voting right upon conviction.

With passage of the amendment, Florida joins the ranks of dozens of American cities and states that have been relaxing restrictions on voting for former prisoners in recent years.

- Felons will get voting rights automatically restored after serving their sentences, vaping in workplaces will be illegal and greyhound racing will be banned in Florida under a series of constitutional amendments approved Tuesday.

The measure was placed on the ballot by petition.

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. Supporters say that the Amendment will provide much-needed reform to an overly-punishing system which disproportionately affects African Americans: around 17.9 percent of potential black votes in Florida.

Florida's felony disenfranchisement laws were, like those in many other states, a vestige of the its racist 19th century "Black Codes", which attempted to systematically criminalize freed slaves following the Civil War, and then bar them from voting.

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.

Amendment 4 received 65% of the vote, according to the Miami Herald, changing 150-year-old language in the state's constitution.

Florida Governor Rick Scott speaks during his election night party at the LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort on November 06, 2018 in Naples, Fla.

Scott was running for senator in the state this election cycle due to being term-limited out of office. In April, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo restored the voting rights of an estimated 24,000 people who are now on probation or parole. Those people will still be barred from voting unless their rights are restored by the state clemency board, which consists of the governor and the three cabinet officers (attorney general, chief financial officer and commissioner of agriculture and consumer services).

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

"This is proof when you speak up and work hard and fight for something you believe in, good things will happen", Stratemann said. It was the deciding state in the 2000 election, and one of the most important ones in the 2016 election.

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