Most felons released from prison will have their voting and other civil rights restored under a rule approved Thursday by Republican Gov. Charlie Crist and the state clemency board.
All but the most violent felons would avoid the need to get on a long list for a hearing before the board, which sometimes takes years.
The board voted 3-1 with Attorney General Bill McCollum, another Republican, strongly objecting.
Crist has made it clear since before he was governor that he was in favor of making it easier for felons who have done their time to vote. He pushed the measure forcefully, and rejected McCollum’s assertion that it was welcoming the worst of the worst back into society too easily.
After someone has served their time, Crist said they should get their rights back as a matter of justice.
Still, Crist’s plan was a compromise, carving out murderers and other violent felons who would still have to either go before the board for a hearing or at least be subject to review.