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Judge Orders Gov. Scott, Cabinet To Create System To Restore Felons’ Voting Rights

Walter Michot
Miami Herald
Gov. Rick Scott, speaks at the 2015 AP Florida Legislative Planning Session at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Oct. 14, 2015.

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Gov. Rick Scott and the three elected Cabinet members to create a new voting rights restoration process for convicted felons by April 26.

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker in Tallahassee issued a permanent injunction in support of the Fair Elections Legal Network that sued the state a year ago, and successfully challenged the constitutionality of the state’s antiquated voting rights restoration process.

Walker did not order the restoration of voting rights for any felons in his order, but he directed Scott and his three fellow Republicans to establish “specific and neutral criteria to direct vote-restoration decisions,” and “meaningful, specific and expeditious time constraints” for the voting rights restoration process.

Scott and the Cabinet voted in 2011 to require any convicted felon to wait at least five years after completion of their sentences before petitioning the state for the restoration of their civil rights, including the right to vote. Felons convicted of murder or sex offenses must wait seven years.

Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald.