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1.5 Million Floridians Will Have Their Voting Rights Restored as Amendment 4 Passes

Election Day 2018 is behind us, but it assured that at least one thing will be very different in 2020: the number of eligible voters in Florida.

On Tuesday, Amendment 4 exceeded the required 60% of the Floridian vote to pass. The ballot initiative will serve to restore voting rights to residents with felony records. It will only apply to individuals who have served the entirety of their sentence, including prison time, parole, and probation, and will exclude those convicted of murder or felony sexual offenses.

Previously, Florida was one of three states—along with Iowa and Kentucky—that barred anyone who has committed a felony from voting. Similar measures were not on the ballot in the latter two states.

With the passage of Amendment 4, as many as 1.5 million Floridians will be re-enfranchised ahead of the next election. The law will have an outsize effect on the African-American population, who are arrested and incarcerated at a higher rate than any other group. More than one in five African-Americans in Florida can’t vote because of a felony conviction, according to estimates by the Sentencing Project.

The effects of Amendment 4 will also likely be felt during the 2020 election. Florida is a swing state, and if the close defeats of Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum are any indication, 1.5 million additional voters could sway the next election.