For the past 25 years, Anthony Bushell has served as his community’s unofficial Election Day chauffeur, transporting the elderly and homeless to and from polling places for local, statewide and federal races. And every election, while the voters Bushell ferried cast their ballots, his criminal record has kept him on the political sidelines. His last vote came in the 1992 presidential election for Bill Clinton, who was then the governor of Arkansas. On Tuesday, Bushell walked out of the Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections Office a newly registered voter, one of several formerly incarcerated Floridians to register to vote after the passage of constitutional Amendment 4, which restored voting rights for an estimated 1.2 million felons — as many as 400,000 of those in South Florida, according to a Tampa Bay Times analysis.
“I usually do my part anyway and I transport individuals to the polls whenever I can,” Bushell, 52, said outside the county’s elections office in Doral. “Not being able to do it myself, that’s like a downfall for me. So now that I’m able to do it, now it’s an uplift.”
The product of a years-long petitioning process by voting rights groups, the amendment officially took effect Tuesday after passing in November with more than 64 percent of the nearly 8 million votes cast. Prior to the amendment going into effect, convicted felons were required to seek the restoration of their rights from the state’s clemency board, which has a backlog of about 10,000 cases.
Full Article: Felons register to vote in Florida. | Miami Herald.