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FL Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Oral Arguments in Case to Restore Ex-Felon Voting Rights

Ex-felons can vote in Florida under a new amendment. Photo: Renata Sago.
Florida is one of three states where formerly convicted felons must petition before a clemency board to have their civil rights restored. Photo: Renata Sago.

The Florida Supreme Court has granted a requestto hear oral arguments in a case that could restore voting rights to more than 1.5 million ex-felons statewide. The decision to hear oral arguments for the proposed amendment comes less than three months after a coalition of pastors, attorneys, and advocacy groups submitted the required 68,314 signatures to trigger a review of current state law.

Currently ex-felons cannot vote or take the state bar or serve on a jury.

The proposed amendment would automatically restore those rights to non-violent former felons, many of whom refer to themselves "returning citizens."

According to a report from advocacy group, The Sentencing Project, that would apply to ten percent of Florida’s voting age population. That’s the largest concentration of disenfranchised citizens in the nation.

The court will hear oral arguments on Tuesday, March 7th, 2017.

One argument has been filed by the Florida Division of Elections in favor of the proposal.

Pending the Florida Supreme Court decision, the proposed amendment could end up on the 2018 ballot.

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