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Disenfranchised No More, Ex-Felons Celebrate While Legislature Debates Voting Details

Emily Mahoney
Tampa Bay Times via Miami Herald
Desmond Meade, president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, faces a crowd of people with former felony convictions during a rally on the steps of the historic old Capitol in Tallahassee on Tuesday. The group was chanting, "our voice, our vote."

Hundreds of former felons celebrated on the steps of the state Capitol Tuesday, more than four months after Florida voters passed Amendment 4, a ballot measure that is estimated to restore voting rights to more than 1.2 million residents.

Yet inside the Capitol, lawmakers may soon spark another fight over who gets to vote — this time over the definition of “murder.”

This is unwelcome news for about 500 people who arrived Tuesday with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. Amendment 4 ostensibly allows most ex-felons to register to vote as soon as they complete their sentence, so long as they are not guilty of murder or a felony sex crime. The law took effect Jan. 8, and elections officials registered new voters in droves in the following days.

Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald.

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