A movement to restore voting rights to ex-felons may be on the November 2018 ballot after a key decision by the Florida Supreme Court.
The court on Thursday approved the language of the ballot measure, known as the Voting Restoration Amendment, and certified the 75,000 signatures in support of the constitutional referendum.
The movement was started by former felon Desmond Meade of Orlando and his group, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. Groups such as the ACLU, NAACP and Latino Leadership are part of the coalition, which was founded in 2003.
As a next step, Meade and his group will need to gather 700,000 signatures to get their initiative on the ballot next fall.
There are nearly 1.6 million ex-felons in the Sunshine State, which is known as having some of the most strict voting regulations in the country. Any Florida citizen with a felony conviction is never allowed to vote again unless granted clemency, regardless of whether they served part or all of his or her sentence.
"This is a WATERSHED moment; one that my wife and I thought about last year when we stood in front of the Supreme Court. This moment is a direct result of the organic Grassroots effort of Floridians throughout the state that stood on grounds of fairness and public safety," Meade wrote in a Facebook post early Thursday.