Democrats may have just secured a major victory in Florida—and it's got nothing to do with the congressional or gubernatorial races.
Voters in the state on Tuesday approved Amendment 4, automatically restoring rights to felons who complete their sentences (with the exception of those convicted of murder or a sexual offense). The amendment's approval effectively re-enfranchises over one million felons—the largest group of people since 1920, when the Nineteenth Amendment granted women the right to vote, according to Pacific Standard's Emma Sarappo.
And there's a good chance that group skews to the left. A study published in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science in 2014 found that, in New York, New Mexico, and North Carolina, felons favored the Democratic Party. In New York, some 62 percent were registered Democrats, compared to 9 percent who registered Republican; in New Mexico, 52 percent were Democrats, while about 10 percent were Republicans; and about 54 percent were Democrats in North Carolina, compared to the roughly 10 percent who were Republicans.
What's more, experts have long asserted that the state's draconian voting policy for felons disproportionately affects African Americans and Hispanic Americans. A 2016 report from the Sentencing Project, a criminal justice advocacy group, found that over 23 percent of African Americans in Florida were unable to vote due to a felony conviction, despite the fact that the majority had been released from prison. Nationally, African Americans and Hispanic Americans overwhelmingly vote Democrat (though most polling is conducted in presidential elections).
All of which is to say: Come 2020, the Democratic Party could reap the rewards of Amendment 4.