In battleground Florida, tough stance on felons may sap votes for Democrats

By Letitia Stein TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Reuters) – Leonard “Roscoe” Newton has been in and out of Florida’s prisons since before he could vote, starting with a youthful conviction for burglary. Felons have been disenfranchised in Florida since 1868, although they can seek clemency to restore their voting rights. Since 2011, however, when Republican state leaders toughened the restrictions on felon voting rights, just 2,339 ex-felons have had that right restored, the lowest annual numbers in nearly two decades, according to state data reviewed by Reuters.

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