Florida Restores Voting Rights for Most Felons

Tuesday's elections were seen as a referendum on Trump

Tuesday's elections were seen as a referendum on Trump

The quest to restore voting rights to felons who completed the sentences, including restitution and parole-excluding those convicted of murder and sexual offenses-has the potential to increase the size of the third most populous state's electorate by more than 10 percent (13.2 million Florida voters were registered in 2018).

Given this information, Meredith and Morse say there's no reason to believe Hillary Clinton would have won Florida in the 2016 presidential election if the state's felons had been allowed to vote.

The 1.4 million people affected make up almost a tenth of Florida's voting age population, implying potentially serious changes for the 2020 elections in this critical swing state.

The passing of Florida's Amendment 4 will restore over a million former felons' right to vote in future elections.

Florida is one of four states that doesn't automatically restore voting rights. Bill Nelson has already called for a recount and with good reason, the vote is split nearly directly in two in the state along rural and urban lines (see the NY Times' instructive map).

That's a quarter of the total number of people nationwide who are forbidden to vote because of a felony conviction. Almost all states allow felons to vote after completing their sentences.

Republicans Keep Senate Majority As Democrats Make Gains In The House
Americans are voting for all 435 seats in the House and 35 out of 100 seats in the Senate, a as well as state governors. Trump's Republican coalition is increasingly older, whiter, more male and less likely to have a college degree.

For Yraida Guanipa, who was released from prison more than a decade ago and could not then vote, the change "is a light at the end of the tunnel".

"People should be able to pay their dues and be able to become full citizens, so to speak", he told New Times outside his Miami Beach polling place Tuesday.

Those were the first notable results as voters in 37 states considered an array of intriguing ballot measures - ranging from marijuana legalization to boosting the minimum wage to civil rights protections for transgender people.

Many states have conservative policies that disenfranchise voters (often, especially, people of color) but Florida is among the nation's worst offenders. The win will permanently alter politics in a state that elected Republican Ron DeSantis as Florida governor by just over 55,000 votes, according to the latest numbers. "One of the most important of our lifetime", social activist Shaun King tweeted. Felons who lose their rights must wait five years to apply for restoration.

Before this ballot initiative passed, felons in Florida could only have their rights restored by appealing to the governor.

Throughout the campaign, the ballot measure gained star-studded support from the likes of "Orange Is The New Black" author Piper Chapman, John Legend, Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, NFL stars like Warrick Dunn and even the Koch-backed Freedom Partners.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.