Legal maneuvers continue after judge declares Florida's voting rights restoration process illegal

What's next after a federal judge declared unconstitutional the way Florida's governor and a panel of his top execs restore voting rights to convicted felons? More legal wrangling, of course. Briefs were delivered on Monday arguing that Florida has a perfectly legal clemency system in place, even if it takes longer than some would want.

Currently, a non-violent felon must wait at least five years before petitioning to regain his or her rights — but that doesn't guarantee that a petition would be heard immediately, or granted.

“An injunction requiring (the state) to affirmatively act to create a new vote-restoration procedure would be inappropriate,” the state also argued.

Rather, the state asserted, Scott and the Cabinet could consider a number of options, including a uniform policy of declining to restore any felon’s right to vote; amending its rules to permanently revoke voting rights of certain felons; providing for discretion or non-discretion in all cases or continuing the current system with its mandatory waiting periods.

Florida is one of several states that doesn't automatically restore voting rights to felons who have served their sentences. Some 1.5 million in Florida (of 6 million convicted felons nationwide) are said to be affected.

Meanwhile, Florida voters in November will decide on an amendment to the state Constitution that would automatically restore the voting rights of non-violent offenders. That amendment needs 60 percent approval to pass.

Read more in the Miami Herald

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