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Federal judge orders Florida to make voting rights changes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida is being ordered by a federal judge to come up with a new way of deciding how and when former prisoners can get their voting rights restored.

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker on Tuesday blocked the state’s current system of forcing ex-felons to wait at least five years before they can get vote.

Walker did not specify what rules the state should put in place but instead gave Gov. Rick Scott and state officials until April 26 to come up with a new process.

Walker first ruled back in February that the state’s system of restoring voting rights to ex-felons is arbitrary and unconstitutional.

Florida’s constitution automatically bars felons from being able to vote after leaving prison. The state’s clemency process allows the governor and three elected Cabinet members to restore voting rights.

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