Seven former felons sued Florida Governor Rick Scott and other state officers on Monday seeking to have their voting rights restored, claiming their disenfranchisement in the state is unconstitutionally arbitrary.
Florida is one of four states that strip all former felons of their voting rights. The class action lawsuit filed in the U.S. Northern District of Florida by the non-partisan Fair Elections Legal Network takes aim at the process by which they can seek to regain their voting rights.
Measures adopted in 2011 by Scott and other Republican state leaders require ex-felons to wait for five to seven years after completing their sentences before they can apply to regain their vote.
"Florida's voting rights situation has become just an unmitigated crisis," said Jon Sherman, senior counsel with the Washington-based Fair Elections Legal Network, which is working with the firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll.
Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida are working on a ballot initiative to restore many felons' voting rights, barred for more than a century in the state constitution.
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