Voting rights restored to 1 million ex-felons in Florida

1.5 million felons begin registering to vote in Florida

(WSVN/CNN) - More than 1 million ex-felons can now register to vote in Florida and it’s a possible game changer for future elections in Florida.

The sunshine state overwhelmingly approved an amendment allowing an estimated 1.5 million felons who have served their sentences and any probation or parole, to register to vote.

The new rights don't apply to those convicted of murder or violent sexual offenses.

Political science professor Charles Zelden says Amendment 4 has the potential to dramatically alter Florida’s political landscape.

“Doesn’t matter what party they’re in because this potentially changes the political dynamic across the state in every county, in every voting district,” said Zelden.

But no one knows for sure what such a massive potential increase to the voter rolls, in such a short amount of time, will mean for the political establishment.

And that’s why Zelden said politicians are rattled.

"They are literally an unknown, which is why the politicians are scared, “he said.

The ACLU of Florida, which spearheaded the statewide effort, says getting Amendment 4 passed was a battle that transcended party politics.

Melba Pearson, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida said this was a nonpartisan issue.

"This is an equal opportunity amendment and whoever takes advantage of it is who may see a change in the coming years," said Pearson.

Offenders who were not convicted of murder or sexual offenses, that have also completed all terms of their sentence, will have their voting rights automatically restored on Tuesday.

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