Florida voters made a decision this Tuesday that will have big impacts on individuals convicted of felonies, such as felony drug possession, in the state. They opted to pass Amendment 4. This amendment changes state law regarding convicted felons and the right to vote.
Previously, Florida had been among the few states in which convicted felons generally permanently lost their voting rights. There was a process for seeking to get such rights restored, but there were many challenges individuals faced in connection to this process.
The now-approved Amendment 4 changes it so there will be an automatic restoration of voting rights for most individuals convicted of felonies in the state.
There are a couple caveats to this automatic restoration. One is that it only takes effect after a convicted felon fully completes his or her sentence. Secondly, this automatic restoration will not be available to individuals convicted of felony sex offenses or murder.
It is estimated that this amendment will have impacts on over a million Floridians who currently have felony convictions on their record.
So, moving forward, permanent loss of voting rights will generally not be among the consequences on the table for individuals convicted of most types of felonies in the state. What are your thoughts on this law change?
Of course, it remains the case here in Florida that felony convictions can expose a person to a wide range of serious consequences. So, when accused of felony drug possession or other felony offenses in the state, promptly taking steps to develop a strong defense strategy is critical.