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The fight to restore felons' voting rights in Florida continues

In 2018, voters passed an amendment that restored voting rights to most felons who had served their sentences.

The battle over felon voting rights in Florida is getting national attention.

In 2018, voters passed Amendment 4 in a landslide. It restored voting rights to most felons who had served all terms of their sentence. As many as 1.4 million people whose previous felony conviction barred them from casting a ballot had their voting rights restored.

CBS News reports this was the single largest addition to the country's voting population in half a century.  

However, it wasn't smooth sailing for felons trying to register following the amendment's passage.  State lawmakers then passed a bill stipulating that "all terms" of a sentence included paying off all fines and fees first. A recent federal appeals court ruling upheld the requirement. It has left many unable to vote in the upcoming election. 

The complications don't stop there. 

RELATED: Felons must pay to have voting rights restored. But few know how much they actually owe.

Florida doesn't have a centralized system of record-keeping, so a growing number of felons who have completed their sentences say they aren't sure how much they actually owe in order to become eligible to vote. 

Even if they can figure out how much they owe, many can't afford it.

Sunday night on 60 Minutes, a Tampa pastor shared his struggle with the situation. 

"The first night that it passed, I went on the internet and I registered, yes," Clifford Tyson said in an interview with Lesley Stahl.

Advocates have spent the past year raising millions of dollars to help people pay off those debts.

RELATED: Here's why advocates are registering felons to vote even after court ruling didn't go in their favor

Now, Florida's Republican Attorney General, Ashley Moody, is calling for an investigation into some of those donations.

Critics said a substantial donation made by billionaire businessman Mike Bloomberg to the non-partisan Florida Rights Restoration Coalition is a political ploy to benefit a specific party.

The group says that is not true and that volunteers are focused on registering as many people as possible, regardless of political affiliation.

The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition has raised more than $20 million dollars to help felons pay off their debts.

RELATED: Rep. Matt Gaetz calls for investigation after Bloomberg raises millions to help Florida felons pay debts

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