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Voting rights restored for some felons in Florida

Posted at 8:26 PM, Jan 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-09 04:14:24-05

Voting rights were restored Tuesday for about 1.4 million felons in Florida.

Amendment 4 took a decade to craft and now Florida will join 47 other states and restore voting rights to most felons.

"This is a great day for our state," Carey Haughwout, Palm Beach County Public Defender said.

For the first time since their conviction felons are getting the ultimate second chance.

"When you go to jail you're nobody," one man registering to vote said. "Everything is gone. You come out and you're treated like nobody. So anything that I can get to make me feel like somebody I'm grateful for."

Now, a felon who did not commit murder or a sexual offense and who has completed their sentence in full can register to vote. From there the state will review the submission and approve or deny the application.

Palm Beach County Public Defender Carey Haughwout says her office will help ex-offenders check to see if the terms of their sentence has been completed.

Haughwout said court costs should not be included in those terms.

"When it's fees and costs that have been reduced to a judgment those are not part of a sentence and we feel very strongly that that needs to be how the law is interpreted otherwise what we are going to do is disenfranchise poor people," she said.

Though there may still be some bumps in the road. Anthony Rayhoskins says he's already making plans for his voter identification.

"I'm going to put it in my wallet I'm going to laminate it," he said.

You can register to vote online or at the Supervisor of Elections Office or the DMV