2 paths to restoring felon voting rights in Florida

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FLORIDA -- (WTVY) Even though they've served their sentences, they still have to apply for the right to vote, and only after a long waiting period.
But there are two paths to their restoration.
700,000 petitions is what it would take to put felon voting rights restoration on Florida's 2018 ballot.
That's quite the hurdle, especially with a February first deadline looming.
There could be another path: the Constitution Revision Commission.
It's empaneled once every 20 years, and it just so happens it's getting together right now to decide which issues to put before voters next year.
Today the Commission's 'Declaration of Rights' committee kicked off debate on a handful of proposals, including automatic felon rights restoration.
It's being put forward by the former top Democrat in the State Senate, Tampa's Arthenia Joyner.
It would mean anybody who's been convicted of a felony and has done their time wouldn't have to wait 5 years or longer to ask the Governor and the State Cabinet to sign off on restoring their voting rights.
Essentially, 1.6 million Floridians, 2/3 of them African American, could regain the right to vote overnight.
That's a big figure, and for now, the committee's taking it slow.
"We've been either in a law school class, a history class, a constitutional law class and a criminal law class at times, so we have a little bit of all sections of the world in Article 1."
In contrast to those 700,000 petitions, all it would take to put this amendment on the ballot would be 22 out of 37 commissioners voting yes.
That vote could take place before the year is out.
If felon voting rights does make the 2018 ballot, under Florida law it would have to be approved by at least 60% of voters in order to pass.

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