Florida Passes Amendment 4 Granting Voting Rights To Disenfranchised Felons

Contributed by Shawna Mizelle 

Voting has always been an avenue of power. On Tuesday, Florida made a step in a new direction when constituents voted to pass Amendment 4 which will restore voting rights to anyone convicted of a felony as long as they have completed their sentence. The amendment will exclude those convicted of murder or felony sex crimes.

According to a study, Florida, ‘accounts for more than a quarter (27 percent) of the disenfranchised population nationally, and its nearly 1.5 million individuals disenfranchised post-sentence account for nearly half (48 percent) of the national total.’

Disenfranchised African Americans will benefit most from Amendment 4. A 2016 study done by The Sentencing Project shows that 21% percent of African Americans in Florida were disenfranchised.

The organization responsible for spearheading Amendment 4, Second Chances Florida, believes, “Now is the time to return the eligibility to vote to Floridians who have done their time and paid their debts.”

As previously reported by WHUR, Rihanna has been very vocal politically and she used her platform to advocate for Amendment 4. In a long caption the singer said, “And VOTE YES on Amendment 4 to restore voting rights to folks who have already paid their debt to society.”

Amendment 4 has garnered the attention of many. And while many states have reformed their felony disenfranchisement laws the policies have not made the restoration process accessible to all. Hopefully, Florida sets a precedent for the remaining states that strip felons of voting rights like Iowa, Kentucky and Virginia.