Restoring voting rights to nonviolent former felons was among 11 constitutional amendments approved by Florida voters Nov. 6. Most of those amendments will start affecting residents around the same time at the beginning of 2019; however, others, like the greyhound ban will take longer to enact.
State law requires constitutional amendments go into effect “on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January following the election,” which next year falls on Jan. 8.
The first amendment to go into effect is Amendment 2, which caps property tax assessment increases by 10 percent a year starting on Jan. 1, a week before most of the other amendments.
Under Amendment 13, greyhound and other dog racing will be phased out by 2020.
On Jan. 8, an estimated 1.5 million people previously convicted of felonies, who also have finished their sentences, should be eligible to vote again.
Yet since the amendment passed with nearly 65 percent of the vote, there has been an argument over whether the amendment takes effect automatically Jan. 8. Some of the groups that pushed the amendment have said they are ready to go to court if there are any delays.
Florida was one of 13 states where felons face a lifetime ban, need a governor's pardon or have to wait an additional amount of time in order to have their voting rights restored. The new law does not apply to anyone convicted of murder or sex offenses.
Republican Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis suggested recently that the amendment will not take effect until the Florida Legislature acts. Lawmakers don't start their annual session until March. Secretary of State Ken Detzner, who oversees the state's division of elections, has provided no guidance to the state's 67 election supervisors.
Many election supervisors across the state have responded by saying they plan to accept registration applications and it will be up to the state to determine if the applicants are ineligible. The existing application in Florida requires someone to sign under oath that they have had their rights restored.
Amendments 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11 and 12 will all be enacted Jan. 8.
Amendment 1 was the only one that didn’t receive the required 60 percent approval vote Nov. 6, which would have raised the homestead property tax exemptions for homes valued at more than $100,000.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.