MIAMI (AP) — Florida religious leaders are calling on Gov. Rick Scott and state officials to restore the civil rights of former felons.
A group of clergy and activists will lead a march through Opa-Locka on Sunday to highlight Florida’s status as one of three states that permanently deny ex-offenders the right to vote unless restored by the governor or a clemency board.
Scott and the Republican-led Cabinet undid automatic restoration of rights for nonviolent ex-felons and tightened rules in 2011. They said offenders should have to demonstrate they can live crime-free.
But religious leaders and civil liberties activists say Florida’s rules are the most restrictive in the nation and effectively suppress the minority vote. Organizers of Sunday’s march say the state has the highest disenfranchisement rate in the country.
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