“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.
…Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala arrived with her husband, David, who has never voted due to a felony drug conviction when he was 16.
…Not being allowed to vote for his wife to become the state’s first-ever African American state attorney, he said, “Was a dark moment, not being able to participate in her moment of history. … I knocked on doors, made calls, but wasn’t able to do the most important thing you can do.”
…“I believe in a wider democracy,” Aramis Ayala said. “When a debt is paid, a debt is paid.”