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The Florida Legislature could be taking a closer look at Amendment 4 during this legislative session due to issues with language clarity. State voters passed Amendment 4 last fall, which amended the state constitution and granted over a million people with felony convictions in Florida the right to vote with some restrictions. On the ballot, Amendment 4 stated, “This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. 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.” Since Jan. 8, the day Amendment 4 took effect, there has been no surge in voter registrations in Okaloosa County by residents with felony convictions, according to county Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux. Lux said he hopes for clarification on what it means to complete “all terms of their sentence.” He gave the example that if a felon’s sentence included restitution, the amendment isn’t clear on if the court cost and/or cost of probation are considered requirements that need to be completed before the felon can register. “It will either be through lengthy and costly litigation or by the legislature,” Grant said. “At a time when Congress continues to abdicate its responsibilities, I am not inclined to follow that path and believe it is our responsibility to provide clarity to these currently undefined terms.” Despite the confusion, Lux said an ex-felon who is eligible to register will not be turned away. “At the end of the day, it shouldn’t serve as a deterrent that we don’t have the answers to these questions, but I understand some people’s reluctance to jump in till they know,” Lux said.

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