Florida Legislators Trying To Define ‘Murder’ In Amendment 4 Hearings

In yet another sign that Florida legislators should leave Amendment 4 alone, a new debate in Tallahassee has emerged over what “murder” means.

The amendment granted “automatic” restoration of voting rights to felons “who have completed all terms of their sentence, including parole or probation.” The amendment excluded people “convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense.”

But state Division of Elections Director Maria Matthews said her office needs the Legislature to clarify what types of convictions the murder exclusion captures, noting that the homicide statute includes a broad swath of crimes.

“It is a question about, do you include partial birth abortion is in there, attempted murder is in there,” Matthews said. “We have gotten questions from supervisors as to what these terms mean.”–Pensacola News Journal

In November, Florida voters passed Amendment 4, which was supposed to automatically restore the voting rights of nearly 1.6 million convicted felons in the state.

Since then, however, Governor Ron Desantis and the Republican-controlled state legislature have decided to undertake “implementing” measures they say are necessary before the law becomes fully effective.

Amendment 4 backers maintain the law did not need any implementing measures by state leaders and should have just been left alone.

Lawmakers are also debating whether a felon who has not paid court fines is inelibigle to have his/her rights resotred as well.

Meanwhile, elections officials across the state began registering felons to vote weeks ago.

Some felons have promised to vote against any elected official who tries to water down Amendment 4.