August 13, 2018

A political committee leading efforts to pass a constitutional amendment about restoring felons’ voting rights received nearly $7 million in contributions during a week-long period in late July and early August, a new finance report shows.

The committee Floridians for a Fair Democracy raised $6,988,054 from July 28 to Aug. 3 and had almost $7.1 million in cash on hand at the end of the period. The largest contribution, $3.4 million, came from the American Civil Liberties Union. But the committee also received six-figure checks from nine donors across the country.

The proposed constitutional amendment, which will appear on the November ballot as Amendment 4, would automatically restore voting rights for all nonviolent felons who have served their sentences, completed parole or probation and paid restitution.

Felons convicted of murder and sexual offenses would not be eligible.

The proposal, which would require approval from 60 percent of voters to pass, comes after years of political and legal fights about restoring the rights of felons who have served their sentences.

A federal judge ruled this year that the process Florida uses for restoring rights is unconstitutional, but Gov. Rick Scott and the state Cabinet have appealed that ruling to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

The appeals court heard arguments last month but has not issued a decision.

The article can be accessed here.