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voting rights

Caribbean American Civic Movement

A small street festival outside Miami features booths adorned with Puerto Rican flags. A band plays salsa music as vendors offer specialties from the Caribbean island such as rice with pork and chickpeas. There's also a woman working her way through the crowd with a clipboard, her white T-shirt emblazoned with the words "Your vote, your voice, your future."

As an appellate court reviews an appeal by Governor Rick Scott and his cabinet in the battle for a new rights restoration scheme for felons, protesters rallied at the Capitol Thursday. Civil rights leaders urged support for a citizens’ initiative amendment on the ballot in November.

Federal District Court Judge Mark Walker has issued a deadline for Gov. Rick Scott to establish a new process for restoring ex-felons’ voting rights: April 26. 

ProCon.org

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Florida to devise a new way to decide when and how former prisoners can get their voting rights restored, saying Gov. Rick Scott and state officials can no longer rely on "whims, passing emotions, or perceptions" in that process.

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker also blocked the state's current system of forcing most ex-felons to wait at least five years before they can ask to have their voting rights restored.

The system was put in place back in 2011 at the urging of Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Florida’s campaign to restore voting rights to felons is gathering national media attention, and national financing. Now activists are trying to focus that energy to get the proposed constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot. WFSU reports on the grassroots campaign to gather 1 million signatures before the end of the year.

An attempt to restore felons’ voting rights in Florida is getting a national boost this week. Comedian Samantha Bee of the TBS show Full Frontal sat down with Desmond Meade of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. Meade is behind a proposed ballot initiative that would automatically restore civil rights to felons. Here’s a portion of Bee’s segment.

TALLAHASSEE — Lawyers for convicted felons filed a class-action lawsuit Monday against Florida officials, alleging that the state's process for restoring voting rights to people who have completed their sentences is arbitrary.

Fewer felons are getting their voting rights restored under Governor Rick Scott than in the past two administrations. Attorney Brittnie Baker said Scott has denied her clients the right to once again vote because of traffic violations or admitting they drank or used drugs.

Florida Supreme Court justices are considering allowing hundreds of thousands of ex-felons to vote. They heard arguments from Floridians For a Fair Democracy on a ballot initiative that would restore voting rights for residents who have completed their sentences.