Florida voters may get a say over casino gambling

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Restoring voting rights for felons and requiring voter approval for new casinos are two amendments that are a step closer to being on the 2018 ballot.

If the amendment gets the approval of 60 percent of Florida voters, felons would be able to vote after completing their sentences, probation or parole. The effort, though, is still a long way from receiving enough signatures to be included on the ballot.

Second, the ballot title and summary also do not mislead voters with regard to the actual content of the proposed amendment.

"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", it adds. Backers of the amendment will still need to gather another 700,000 signatures to make the 2018 ballot. Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has made it more hard for felons to get their rights restored. Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi made it so felons would have to wait at least five years after finishing their sentences before they could apply to vote again.

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Over 10,000 requests now sit in Scott's office, waiting for the seal of approval, but the governor and Bondi have been notoriously slow in restoring felon voting rights, only approving around a quarter of those applications so far. State legislators have considered proposals to expand casinos the last several years. "Now the work of gathering signatures and mounting a successful campaign to change the Florida Constitution begins in earnest". "We look forward to Florida voters being given a chance to bring our state's voting rules out of the 19th century and into the 21st".

The Supreme Court was more divided about whether the gambling-related initiative should move forward. That includes the counties of Broward and Miami-Dade.

Fred Lewis dissented on the gambling amendment, saying "the ballot title and summary do not clearly inform the public that the proposed amendment may substantially affect slot machines approved by county-wide (referendums)".

But the majority rejected arguments that it should block the measure from going on the ballot.

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