More than 1 million former felons in Florida regained the right to vote — and this group is trying to register them for the 2020 elections

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  • Former convicted felons in Florida — more than 1 million people — will be allowed to vote in the 2020 elections.
  • The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition is canvassing door to door trying to register voters, despite hurdles from the state’s Republican-controlled legislature.
  • Former convicted felons, or returning citizens, are disproportionately Black and Latino, and often face discrimination in the housing and job markets after they’ve served their time.
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For the first time ever, people in Florida who have been convicted of felonies will be allowed to vote.

And now, a statewide campaign led by local nonprofits — including one established by LeBron James — could add as many as 1.4 million new voters in a key swing state ahead of the 2020 elections.

Since 2018, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, or FRRC, has registered thousands of people who were convicted of felonies.

The law has been challenged through a series of court battles, but earlier this month, the Supreme Court allowed the restrictions to stand.

Today, Iowa remains the only state that bars all former convicts from voting. But many states — including Florida — still forbid at least some people with criminal conviction from voting, keeping millions from the polls every election, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.

Laws like these disproportionately affect Black and Hispanic Americans, who are incarcerated at much higher rates than white Americans. 

“When you go into a voting booth, that’s the one time where you have as much power as the richest person in the United States, or even the most powerful person in the United States,” said Desmond Meade, the FRRC’s executive director. “Because when you’re in that booth, it’s one man, one vote.”


FRRC executive director Desmond Meade speaking with staff.


Many FRRC staff who are canvassing door to door are formerly convicted felons, or as the

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