News

Actions

Florida legislators clarify laws on restoring voting rights for felons

Posted: 4:27 PM, Feb 14, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-14 18:14:30Z
Florida legislators clarify laws on restoring voting rights for felons
Florida legislators clarify laws on restoring voting rights for felons

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - State House lawmakers are diving into the language surrounding a constitutional amendment that automatically restores the right to vote to most felons who have completed their sentences.

Approved by 64 percent of Florida voters in November, the measure exempts murderers and individuals who have committed "felony sex offenses."

State and local elections officials are relying on the Legislature to give them guidance in interpreting the new law. The reason is the proposal doesn't define what exactly constitutes "murder" or which specific sex crimes make someone ineligible.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Paul Renner says lawmakers' first job is to identify the sources of the confusion before crafting solutions to what could become a contentious issue.

"Remove hurdles, remove speed bumps, remove any subjectivity in the process so that people today, as a result of Amendment Four have the right to vote, have that right in reality, and they don't have someone somewhere who makes a different decision," said Representative Renner.

Officials are also seeking clarification about how to determine whether a felon has completed the terms of his or her sentence.