Immoderately Caffeinated/ Vintage Moderator
(CNN)A new state law takes effect in Florida Tuesday that is expected to restore voting rights to more than a million people with felony convictions -- despite questions from state officials about its implementation.
Supporters of the law say there's nothing ambiguous about Amendment 4, which was approved by nearly 65% of Florida voters in the November midterm elections.
The new law says voting rights shall be restored to those with felony convictions who complete all terms of their sentence, including parole or probation, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense.
Desmond Meade spent years traveling to every corner of Florida gathering petition signatures to restore voting rights to former felons. On Tuesday, all he had to do to register to vote for the first time in decades was walk a few steps into the Orange County elections office.
“One hundred and fifty years of disenfranchisement, and this moment here marks the end of a system that excludes so many people for a lifetime,” Meade said, referring to the years after the Civil War when felons were first barred from voting during Reconstruction. “This is a moment for democracy.”
The right to vote was restored to more than 1.4 million former felons across the state Tuesday thanks to Amendment 4’s victory at the ballot box in November, leading to emotional scenes as tears flowed, confetti was thrown and U.S. flags were waved.
RALEIGH, N.C. — Republican politicians across the country have for years railed against the threat of voter fraud. Some have made unproven claims about how rampant it has become in order to pass voter ID laws and open sweeping investigations. The sanctity of the vote, they have said, must be protected at all costs.
But when a hard-fought congressional election in North Carolina — in which a Republican candidate appeared to narrowly beat his Democratic opponent — was overturned this week because of election fraud by a Republican political operative, the party was measured, and largely muted, in its response.
Republican Mark Harris said Tuesday he will not run in the new election for North Carolina’s 9th congressional district, citing his “extremely serious” health condition.
It comes just days after the North Carolina State Board of Election unanimously voted for a new election after the district’s House race from 2018 was marred by claims of ballot fraud.
“After consulting with my physicians, there are several things that my health situation requires as a result of the extremely serious condition that I faced in mid-January,” Harris said in a statement. “One of those is a necessary surgery that is now scheduled for the last week in March.”
Harris added, “I have decided not to file in the new election for Congressional District 9.”