Felon rights initiative nears 700,000 signatures

An effort to restore voting rights has 680,224 valid signatures. It needs 776,200 by Feb. 1 to make the 2018 November ballot.
Desmond Meade
Desmond Meade
Published Jan. 10, 2018|Updated Jan. 10, 2018

Backers of a proposed constitutional amendment that would restore felons' rights have submitted more than 680,000 valid petition signatures to the state as they try to get on the November ballot.

The political committee Floridians for a Fair Democracy, which is led by Desmond Meade, had submitted 680,224 valid signatures as of Tuesday and need to reach a total of 766,200 to make the ballot, according to the state Division of Elections website. Restoring felons' rights has long been a controversial issue in Florida.

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The proposal, if approved by 60 percent of voters, would automatically restore voting rights for all nonviolent felons who have served their sentences, completed parole or probation and paid restitution. Felons convicted of violent crimes, such as murder, would not be eligible.