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Felon voting rights amendment passes 100K signatures

A 2018 ballot initiative to have the state automatically restore voting rights to nonviolent felons has reached 100,000 signatures according to the Florida Division of Elections.

The initiative has 108,674 valid signatures, which is nearly double the number of signatures in mid-August and has now surpassed the threshold to be reviewed by Attorney General Pam Bondi.

To make the ballot, initiatives need signatures equal to 8 percent of the voter turnout in the most recent presidential election. That equals 766,200 signatures for initiatives aiming for the 2018 ballot, which is a significant jump from the 683,149 needed to make the cut in 2016.

The initiative would restore the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. Certain felons, such as those convicted of murder or sexual offenses would not be eligible for automatic restoration.

Current law requires felons to apply to have their voting rights or other civil rights restored, and a majority of the governor and Cabinet must vote in favor of restoration on a case-by-case basis.

There are currently more than 10,000 cases in the executive clemency backlog.

Through the end of July, Floridians for a Fair Democracy has raised just shy of $1.1 million and had about $93,000 of that money on hand on Aug. 1. The majority of the money has financed signature gathering efforts.

The committee faces a Monday deadline to file its campaign finance numbers for August.

Written By

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

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