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Florida Streamlines Clemency, Restores Felons' Voting Rights

Jail cell

Felons who meet the criteria will also be allowed to serve on a jury and hold public office.

The Florida Clemency Board voted Wednesday to automatically restore most civil rights stripped from felons once they've completed their sentences.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed the new rules to streamline the restoration of rights. He and the independently elected Cabinet members that serve as the Clemency Board voted unanimously to approve them.

DeSantis said he proposed the changes in part to address a 2018 constitutional amendment, known as Amendment 4, that was designed to restore voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences.

The new rules will still require felons to pay court-ordered financial obligations and establish an expedited process for felons who have paid all of the legal financial obligations related to their crimes.

That “automatic process” is “going to streamline everything,” Attorney General Ashley Moody said.

“I think this is going to be a huge advancement toward reducing that backlog,” she added. “I think this is a great first step, and I think our numbers will ultimately show that.

Felons who meet the criteria for restoration of rights still won’t have the right to possess firearms, but they'll be able to vote, serve on a jury and hold public office.

Information from News Service of Florida was used in this report.