That’s when voters approved Amendment 4, a ballot measure that restored the right to vote to most people who had served out sentences for felony convictions. What would 1.2 million potential new voters mean to perhaps the purplest big state?
But an earlier test for Amendment 4 comes on March 5 in Tampa. It’s the election for the mayor and city council.
Monday marked the deadline to register to vote in the city’s election. That gave ex-felons in Tampa just 27 days to register if they intended to vote.
Newly-released data on registrations in January show us what
Amendment 4 meant, at least so far: crowds of people registered to vote, and those crowds are older, blacker and more Democratic.
When the law took effect, supervisors of elections’ offices were as busy as they get before statewide general elections, despite it being January in an off-year. In Tampa, 426 people registered to vote that week, about 2.5 times as many as the weekly average in the months before.
At the beginning of 2019, 22 percent of Tampa voters were black. But on Jan. 8, the first day of Amendment 4, the black share of those registering to vote skyrocketed to 47 percent. For the entire week, black people made up 35 percent of new registrations.