By passing Amendment 4 in Florida, 1.5 million former felons had their voting rights restored.
“Of that population, 500,000 of those folks are African Americans,” stated cultural strategist Carri Twigg. “If those folks were eligible to vote, I think we can all be pretty confident that Andrew Gillum would have been elected governor.”
Florida was one of the three U.S. states with a lifetime voting ban on citizens with felony convictions.
“Florida, this year, after years of political organizing, community organizing by activists on the ground, put a ballot initiative on their ballot called Issue 4 which would restore those voting rights,” Twigg said. “One of the complicating things about Florida is that you can have a victory like Issue 4, and then have a progressive candidate like Andrew Gillum lose, who also had a historic element to his campaign.”
Twigg said Issue 4 was the largest expansion of voting rights since the Voting Rights Act. She also said that the Amendment’s passing, coupled with Gillum’s loss is a fairly common outcome.
“For every step forward, you take half a step back,” she stated. “And it’s a continual fight that doesn’t proceed in a linear or straight direction. It takes a full, comprehensive, patient strategy to really articulate foundational change.”