In November, 64 percent of Floridians—more than five million Democrats, Republicans, and independents—stood together and ended the unfair, antidemocratic practice of felon disenfranchisement. They restored the voting rights of more than 1.4 million neighbors who’d served their time and earned back every privilege of citizenship.
It may have been the most meaningful expansion of democracy in decades, since there were 5.8 million former felons nationally who couldn’t vote. Felon disenfranchisement is one of America’s earliest and longest-lasting forms of voter suppression. Florida has long been its ground zero. More than 10 percent of all adults—and almost a quarter of African-Americans—lost their voting rights permanently because of a conviction, an extra punishment of civic death continuing long after their release.