Published: Mar 09, 2011 9:12 PM EST
Updated: Mar 09, 2011 6:13 PM EST

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.- Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet have ended the automatic restoration of voting and other civil rights to nonviolent felons once their sentences are up.

Sitting as the Board of Executive Clemency, they voted 4-0 on Wednesday to change the panel's rules and require at least a five-year waiting period before ex-convicts can apply to get their rights back.

Law enforcement officials and state prosecutors favored the change, saying people that have broken the law need more time to prove themselves.

Civil rights advocates called the new rule a step backward, one that would amount to a sort of double punishment.

The change is effective immediately, and affects more than 100,000 felons.

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