Felons who have served their sentences in Florida have in recent years been forced to appeal to the governor and his Cabinet for the restoration of their voting rights.
More than a million felons in Florida will soon have the right to vote, thanks to Amendment 4, but there are questions about how it will work. The only offenders who will be exempt are those who committed murder or sexual crimes.
The current system significantly affects African-Americans in the state: More than 20 percent of otherwise eligible African-American adults are unable to vote under this process. In April, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo restored the voting rights of an estimated 24,000 people who are now on probation or parole.
The Florida constitution, with Jim Crow-era roots, barred people from voting even after having completed their sentences.
At the beginning of 2018, Floridians for a Fair Democracy collected more than 799,000 certified petition signatures, or about 33,000 more than the group needed to get the measure on the ballot.
In the first statewide referendum on transgender rights, MA voters on Tuesday beat back a repeal attempt and reaffirmed a 2016 law extending nondiscrimination protections to transgender people, including their use of public bathrooms and locker rooms. We applaud the people of Florida! 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).
When almost two-thirds of Florida's voters said yes to Amendment 4 to restore voting rights to 1.4 million felons who completed their sentences, they sent a moral message with political consequences that will reverberate in Florida and nationally for years. The sport remains active in five other states, but may be too small-scale to survive. Sonia Stratemann, a greyhound racing opponent, said the vote will save "thousands and thousands of greyhounds from being bred into a cruel industry".
While liberal-leaning groups succeeded in getting some of their favored policy proposals on the ballot in Republican-controlled states, the partisan pattern was reversed in a few states.
Climate change also was an issue in Arizona and Nevada, where voters considered measures requiring that 50 percent of electricity come from renewable sources by 2030.
As black people are disproportionately represented among former felons, one in five black Florida voters are prohibited from voting due to a criminal record.