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With the Election

Florida Eases Voting Ban for Felons, Giving 1.4 Million a Second Chance

ORLANDO, Fla.--As soon as he turned 18, Keith R. Ivey got a voter registration card and tucked it into his wallet. He’s 46 now and has never used it.

You want to be involved, and you’re not involved

Mr. Ivey, the co-owner of a used-car lot in Jacksonville, Fla., is one of the more than 1 million Floridians whose felony convictions prevented them from voting. “You want to be involved, and you’re not involved,” Mr. Ivey said, thinking about nail-biter elections he has watched from the sidelines because of the eight years he served for grand theft.

No longer. On Tuesday, Florida voters approved a measure to restore the voting rights of those with felony convictions who have served their sentences, as long as the crime committed was not murder or sexual abuse. Florida has become known for its razor-thin election margins, and exactly how the change will affect the state’s politics nobody knows for sure. What is clear is that the state created a potential pool of a million-plus voters overnight. Some experts suggested that a new stream of Democratic voters might emerge from the referendum, called Amendment 4, but others doubted that one party would automatically benefit ..To read more, subscribe to the blackchronicle newspaper