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Jewish Groups Helped To Pass Florida Amendment Allowing Felons To Vote

WASHINGTON (JTA) — An amendment to Florida’s constitution that would restore voting rights for felons passed Tuesday with the help of Jewish groups that campaigned for the measure.

Amendment 4 won 64 percent of the vote, passing the needed 60 percent threshold for passage.

A number of Florida branches of Jewish groups, including the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center, the Anti-Defamation League, the National Council of Jewish Women and Join for Justice, campaigned for the amendment, which excludes felons convicted of murder and sex crimes.

Florida, long a swing state, could go more decidedly Democratic: Minorities, who form a substantial portion of the 1.4 million newly enfranchised voters, tend to vote for Democrats.

“‘Kol hakavod’ to the Reform Jewish communities in Florida — and across the U.S. — who organized and mobilized to make this happen,” the national Religious Action Center said on Twitter, using the Hebrew term for “well done.” “This is huge. 1.4 million Floridians will have their voting rights restored.”

A number of major Jewish philanthropists contributed to the campaign, including George Soros, Seth Klarman and Stacy Schusterman.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at fisher@forward.com, or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

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