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The Initiative seeks to fully restore voting rights to these individuals - except those convicted of murder or sexual assault.

Backers of Amendment 4 included the American Civil Liberties Union, the conservative Koch brothers-backed group Freedom Partners - as well as Ben & Jerry's. It also received a groundswell of grassroots support from ex-offenders and their families, who say those who paid their debt to society should be returned to full citizenship.

"We showed that every ballot cast was a ballot cast with love", said Desmond Meade, President of Floridians for a Fair Democracy.

"This was a campaign about inclusion", Meade continued. "Our victory today shows that if we unify around our shared values, reaching out across parties and beyond politics as usual, we all win". That's what happens when we transcend partisan lines and bickering, when we transcend racial anxieties and when we come together as God's children.

"Today, when democratic values are on the defensive worldwide", he said, "Florida voters made a resoundingly clear statement that the state's shameful lifetime ban on voting is not consistent with the values of democracy". The two remaining states are Iowa and Kentucky. The outcome brings Florida into the mainstream with the rest of the country and welcomes more than 1 million residents back to the democratic process.

The 1.4 million people affected make up almost a tenth of Florida's voting age population, implying potentially serious changes for the 2020 elections in this critical swing state.

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Demetrius Jifunza is a convicted felon and father of three children who wants to be able to fight for a better future for them by voting.

While liberal-leaning groups succeeded in getting some of their favored policy proposals on the ballot in Republican-controlled states, the partisan pattern was reversed in Democratic-leaning OR and MA. The win is a big victory for voting rights and the rights of formerly incarcerated people. Its stringent, complicated requirements led to a system that left one in five African-Americans disenfranchised, which is why Oliver called out the state so publicly.

Previously, Florida was one of four states to withhold voting rights from felons as general practice.

"The constitutional amendment the voters have now approved is not the end of this saga; it is more like the end of the beginning", Simon said.

The measure was placed on the ballot by petition.


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