TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - Felons will get voting rights automatically restored after serving their sentences, vaping in workplaces will be illegal and greyhound racing will be banned in Florida under a series of constitutional amendments approved Tuesday.
More than 64 percent of Florida voters cast ballots in favor of Amendment Four, which is designed to restore voting rights to an estimated 1.4 million felons who have completed their sentences. It would not apply to felons convicted of murder and sex offenses.
Florida is one of four states that does not automatically restore voting rights. Mark Schlakman, with the Florida State University Center for the Advancement of Human Rights, supported the measure.
“It was carrying 64 percent, so it’s transcended party lines as it should. These issues should not be partisan issues, even though they are often cast as such," said Schlakman.
Voters also agreed to pass Amendment 13, which will ban greyhound racing at state pari-mutuels by 2021. Kate MacFall with the Humane Society of the United States said the vote will save the lives of thousands of greyhounds.
“It phases out an industry that is cruel and inhumane and is already illegal in 40 states. Dogs are dying, one every three days," said MacFall. "They are confined almost 24/7. This was the right thing to do.”
Also passing was Amendment Nine, which calls for banning offshore oil drilling and banning vaping and the use of electronic cigarettes in workplaces. In all, voters passed 11 of the 12 amendments on the ballot.
The only proposed amendment that was short of getting the required 60 percent voter approval was Amendment One, which would increase a homestead property-tax exemption.