By Skyler Swisher
Floridians with felony convictions are now able to register to vote with a new constitutional amendment taking effect.
About 64 percent of voters supported Amendment 4, which automatically restores voting rights to most people who have felonies on their record.
South Florida election supervisors are gearing up to implement the law, which takes effect today.
The change is the culmination of work by religious, social justice, and civil liberties groups who pushed for Florida to join most other states in giving offenders a second chance.
“This is a historic moment,” said Melba Pearson, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. “Everyone who is eligible to vote as a result of Amendment 4 should register.”
Here are some things to know:
Who is eligible to register under Amendment 4?
Floridians with felony convictions who have completed “all terms of their sentence including parole or probation” will have their voting rights automatically restored Jan. 8. The amendment, though, does not apply to people convicted of murder or sexual offenses.
Those offenders will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Clemency Review Board.
Applicants who meet the criteria will need to fill out a form affirming that they have had their rights restored, Pearson said.