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Florida votes to restore voting rights to some felons

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Florida residents cast their ballot on Election Day at a Miami fire station. Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI

By Ray Downs, UPI

Florida approved a constitutional amendment Tuesday to restore voting rights to more than 1.4 million people who were convicted of felonies.

Florida's Amendment 4 easily passed despite requiring 60 percent approval per state constitution rules. The law will restore voting rights to all felons --- with the exception of those convicted of murder or sex offenses -- who have served their prison or parole sentences.

Desmond Meade, president of Floridians for a Fair Democracy and a pivotal figure in the effort to get Amendment 4 on the ballot, celebrated the result.

"We showed that every ballot cast was a ballot cast with love," Meade told the Orlando Sentinel. "We showed what can happen when we come together along the lines of humanity and reach each other where we're at. That's what happens when we transcend partisan lines and bickering, when we transcend racial anxieties and when we come together as God's children. That's what happens."

Also in Florida, voters banned live dog racing and approved an amendment that allows changing criminal sentencing laws to apply retroactively to those convicted of criminal offenses.

Among the other amendments across the country that were called before midnight EST on Tuesday, Alabama voters approved an amendment that changes the state's constitution to allow displays of the 10 Commandments on public property.

The amendment is expected to draw legal challenges for violating the First Amendment.
"Government-sponsored religious displays on public property clearly violate the core constitutional principle of religious freedom and put the seal of approval on one religion over another," Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State said in a statement. "And many of these displays will no doubt end up in court at the expense of the taxpayers."

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U.S. - U.S. Daily News: Florida votes to restore voting rights to some felons
Florida votes to restore voting rights to some felons
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U.S. - U.S. Daily News
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