Florida Restores Voting Rights to More Than 1.4 Million Ex-Felons

November 7, 2018 Updated: November 7, 2018

Approximately 1.4 million convicted felons will have the right to vote due to a ballot that received about 65 percent of the vote on Nov. 6.

At least 60 percent of voters had to approve it for it to become a law.

“We showed that every ballot cast was a ballot cast with love,” said Desmond Meade, President of Floridians for a Fair Democracy, reported the Orlando Sentinel.

“We showed what can happen when we come together along the lines of humanity and reach each other where we’re at. That’s what happens when we transcend partisan lines and bickering, when we transcend racial anxieties and when we come together as God’s children. That’s what happens.”

Meade gathered around 766,200 verified signatures and led the effort to get Amendment 4 on the ballot.

Republicans such as gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis and Gov. Rick Scott said they were opposed to the matter. Scott has said, “If you are a convicted felon part of what you did is you lose your rights and there ought to be a process to get those rights back. I think it is fair to the rest of the citizens of the state,” according to the Miami Herald.

Democratic candidates said they supported the measure. Meanwhile, the ACLU paid more than $5 million in advertising on TV and via social media to get it passed, according to CNBC.

Florida was one of three states that had a lifetime voting ban for people with felonies. Kentucky and Iowa are the others.

“This didn’t only impact those who couldn’t vote. This impacted the communities they came from,” Angel Sanchez, a former gang member, who has several felonies on his record, CNBC reported. “If you look at all these elections that are happening right now, they’re all being decided by less than 100,000 votes, maybe less than 200,000. … If only 10 percent of the individuals re-enfranchised today turn out to vote, these elections could be impacted.”