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An estimated 1.2 million Florida residents who have served time in prison have regained the right to vote, thanks to passage of a new state constitutional amendment.

According to the Sentencing Project's 2016 estimates, the measure will benefit almost 1.5 million people in Florida who have completed their felony sentences but can't vote. It required felons to wait at least five years after completing their sentence before they could file a request with the governor and Cabinet. Donald Trump's presidency was guaranteed after he won Florida by only 112,911 votes.

Meade gathered around 766,200 verified signatures and led the effort to get Amendment 4 on the ballot. 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). "A few exceedingly well-financed special interests are driving a ballot initiative that is mislabeled and anti-consumer in the State of Florida".

Previously, Florida was one of three states-along with Iowa and Kentucky-that barred anyone who has committed a felony from voting.

The voting restoration amendment excludes those convicted of murder or sex crimes.

New Yorkers reinstated the voting rights of former offenders in April.

Republicans such as gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis and Gov. Rick Scott said they were opposed to the matter.

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"It's pivotal because I think the culture around voting, especially in communities of color around here is very hostile", Aaron Sykes, community organizer, said. The initiative drew bipartisan support, from the American Civil Liberties Union to the Koch brothers-funded Freedom Partners. Meanwhile, the ACLU paid more than $5 million in advertising on TV and via social media to get it passed, according to CNBC.

"People - whether they're down the right, left, or don't have a political affiliation - can all grasp that idea", Volz explained.

Florida was one of only a handful of states that permanently bars felons from voting unless they are granted clemency.

If passed, the amendment would exempt as much as $25,000 in property taxes for those whose homes are valued between $100,000 and $125,000. "Such evidence can not support the stronger claim that Trump would have lost the state in 2016 but for criminal disenfranchisement".

Meanwhile, almost 79 percent of voters supported Amendment 12, which would expand lobbying restrictions on lawmakers and other state officials after they leave their positions. Given the trends on this issue, it likely won't be long before those states reform their laws as well. Why should we continue to punish them?

In passing Amendment 4, a Florida electorate that elected a Republican governor and appears to be on track to elect a Republican senator also voted to extend voting rights for people with felony criminal records.