TALLAHASSEE — Due to a legal battle, Florida is putting on hold requests by former prisoners who are asking to get their voting rights restored.
A federal judge in February ruled that the state’s system of restoring voting rights to ex-felons is unconstitutional. But U.S. District Judge Mark Walker hasn’t yet ruled on what should be done to change the system.
Gov. Rick Scott and three other statewide officials are holding a clemency meeting on Thursday. But they are not taking any action on requests from 62 ex-felons to have their rights restored.
John Tupps, a spokesman for Scott, said a decision was made to postpone action because the state is waiting for another ruling from Walker.
Florida’s constitution automatically bars felons from being able to vote after leaving prison.
Voters in November will consider a ballot initiative that would amend the constitution to allow for the automatic restoration of voting rights for many non-violent felons.
The measure would need to the support of 60 percent of voters to take effect.
In a sharply worded ruling,Walker said Florida’s clemency board with “unfettered discretion in restoring voting rights” violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
The ruling threw into limbo the status of 1.5 million ex-felons eligible to seek the restoration of their rights
Scott defends how Florida restores voting rights to felons »