Ex-Felons Regaining Voting Rights

Anything from burglary to murder can result in someone becoming a felon. Committing a felony is a great deal more serious than having to pay a fine.

Madelyn Larson
For The Record

Most felons had to pay the price by spending years in prison. Some states have now passed laws for ex-offenders to be able to reintroduce their voting rights. Florida has been the most recent to pass a law concerning felons’ voting rights.
During last November’s elections, Florida passed a law with Amendment 4. According to cnbc.com, “Amendment 4 automatically reinstates voting rights for people with felony convictions upon completion of their sentences, including prison, parole, and probation. Excluded are those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense.” Just earlier this month, an enormous number of around 1.4 million former felons from Florida can now re-register and vote in upcoming elections. Before this law was passed, Florida, Iowa, and Kentucky were the only three states to place a lifetime voting ban on any person that had a history with felonies.
Many people in Florida believe that with the additional 1.4 million voters, this could reshape Florida’s electoral map in the 2020 elections. Clarence Office is a retired veteran who went to prison for three years for drug convictions. He was the first in line earlier this month to re-register to vote. Office said, “As I have gotten older, I see now the significance of being able to vote.” The number of felons who can now vote in Florida is more than some populations of entire states. According to foxnews.com, “6.1 million Americans lost their right to vote due to felony convictions. Amendment 4 restores the eligibility of 1.4 million former felons to vote.”
This law has caused controversy between voters. Some believe that everyone should get a second chance, while others believe felons should have to live with the decisions they made. Office also stated, “These people own homes, they have businesses, they have children that went to school, got Ph.D.s, and you can’t even go and vote for the mayor of the city you live in? That’s crazy.” With the 2020 elections on the horizon, these additional voters will undoubtedly make a change in Florida’s political parties.