Federal judge rules Florida's ban on ex-felons voting is unconstitutional

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A federal judge has ruled that Florida's ban on ex-felons voting is unconstitutional and needs to be ended.

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker on Thursday issued a blistering ruling that says the state's current process to restore voting rights is flawed. The lawsuit was filed against Governor Rick Scott by a voting rights organization on behalf of several people who had completed their prison sentences.

Walker said he will decide later what Florida should do to fix the process.

The governor's spokesman John Tupps defended Florida's ban and said the state would continue to defend it in court.

Florida's constitution allows the governor and Cabinet members to restore voting rights. But the process put in place by Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi in 2011 requires most ex-felons to wait at least five years.