A felon’s bill

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

A bill that would au­to­mat­i­cally re­turn vot­ing rights to felons af­ter they com­pleteth­eirsen­tence­shas­been­in­tro­duced by a Florida leg­is­la­tor who is­still­i­nof­ficeeven­though­heisacon­victed felon.

The­billintro­ducedDec.21bystate Sen. Gary Si­plin would change the state’slong-stand­ing­con­sti­tu­tion­al­ban on felon vot­ing. Now, a felon’s rights can only be re­stored by the state’s cle­mency board, which must hear each case in a process that can take month­so­ryears,theAssociatedPress re­ports. Florida is one of just three stat­esthat­don’tau­to­mat­i­cal­lyre­store vot­ing rights af­ter com­ple­tion of a sen­tence,saidSe­nateMi­nor­i­tyLeader Steven Geller.

Mr. Si­plin, a two-term Demo­crat from Or­lando, was con­victed in Au­gust on felony grand theft charges for hav­ing em­ploy­ees work on his 2004 re-elec­tion cam­paign on state time. He was sen­tenced last month to three years’ pro­ba­tion and 300 hours of com­mu­nity ser­vice, but that has been post­poned pend­ing his ap­peal.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@wash­ing­ton­times.com.

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