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Florida Supreme Court considers voting rights amendment

Photo: Erik Hersman, Flickr.

Photo: Erik Hersman, Flickr.

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TALLAHASSEE, Florida (AP) — The Florida Supreme Court is being asked to approve the wording of a proposed amendment that could allow convicted criminals to vote.

Backers of the amendment went before the high court on Monday. Justices must decide whether the amendment is misleading.

Florida’s constitution bars people convicted of felonies from being able to vote after they have left prison. Convicted felons must ask to have their voting rights restored.

The amendment would allow most convicts to have their rights automatically restored after they have completed their prison sentence. Felons convicted of murder or a sexual offense would not be eligible.

Orlando resident Desmond Meade said he turned his life around after being incarcerated for drug crimes in the in the early 2000’s. But he can’t vote, and he’s collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to change that.

“I think that this is rooted in fairness. You know, once a person has served their time, have paid their debt to society,” said Meade. “They should be given that opportunity to have their voices heard.”

Amendment supporters still must gather more than 700,000 signatures to place the amendment on the 2018 ballot.

An attorney for Attorney General Pam Bondi said she is not taking a stance on the amendment wording.


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