More than 1.4 million former felons in Florida were able to register to vote on Tuesday.
The action came after voters in the state approved the measure, known as Amendment 4, in November. The amendment restored voting rights to felons, who have completed their sentences. Sex offenders and rapist are not eligible.
There were no reports of any issues registering the former felons, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Some of those looking to register to vote did not wait for election offices to open on Tuesday and filled out the needed forms online shortly after midnight.
“At 12:01 a.m. I’m texting everybody, ‘Happy Returning Citizen Registration Day,’” Sheena Meade, a former Florida House candidate said. “Some people were texting us in the middle of the night.”
In Palm Beach County, Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher called Tuesday an “historic” day, adding the state had “shamelessly” disenfranchised its residents by not allowing them to have their voting rights automatically restored.
“Today … will be memorialized in Florida history for allowing every citizen to have a vote,” she said.
Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala arrived at an elections office with her husband, David, who has never voted due to a felony drug conviction when he was 16.
“I’m ecstatic,” David Ayala said. “I lost my right to vote before I was even eligible to vote, and before I knew how important voting is.”
And the SunSentinel reported 64 percent of voters had approved the measure, which automatically restores voting rights to many of the former felons.