Tampa Bay treated Tuesday like a voting rights holiday. Or, more accurately, Tampa Bay treated Tuesday like it was a business day in September or October just weeks before a presidential election. Hillsborough and Pinellas counties processed a combined 872 applications to register to vote on the day, the first day Amendment 4 expanded voting rights access to most felons who had completed their sentences. You can look at that number in two ways. In one way, it’s tiny: There are likely more than 130,000 people who just gained their right to vote in those counties, according to a Times analysis. In another way, it’s enormous. There is no general election in 2019, and off-years rarely see a day where more than a few hundred people register to vote in the region.
“We’ve been steadily busy with people walking in to register to vote all throughout the day, and expressing a lot of excitement to have this opportunity,” Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections spokesman Gerri Kramer said Tuesday evening.
The county received 434 applications Tuesday. For perspective, that’s more than two-thirds as many registrations as they received in the entire month of January 2018 (an election year).