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Economists wrap up consideration of felons’ voting rights

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

A panel of state economists and forecasters spent Wednesday editing their notes on the costs of a constitutional amendment on felons’ voting rights.

Amy Baker, who heads the Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research, noted the amendment’s opponents never submitted written material or testimony.

The proposed Florida Voting Restoration Amendment would automatically return voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences.

The Financial Impact Estimating Conference has been struggling to figure out a price tag for the amendment. Changes to the state constitution first require a cost analysis. A final report is forthcoming.

A ballot summary says: “This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case-by-case basis.”

State elections officials certified in September that supporters had collected enough signatures to place the initiative on the 2018 ballot, pending review by the Florida Supreme Court.

One question affecting the cost is whether ex-offenders need to be “pre-cleared” before they regain the right to vote.

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