Had Felons Been Allowed To Vote, Both Gillum And Nelson Likely To Have Won

The recount is over and close two weeks after the midterm elections, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson conceded to Republican Governor Rick Scott, who reportedly already made a trip to Washington, D.C..

Nelson lost by barely 10,000 votes out of more than 8 million total ballots cast.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum was defeated by former Congressman Ron Desantis in the gubernatorial race by a margin of just 33,000 votes; Gillum conceded over the weekend.

With Democrats once again coming up short in a statewide election, many are pointing to the recent ratification of Amendment 4, which restored voting rights to an estimated 1.7 million Floridians with felony convictions: had the ban been lifted prior to the 2018 midterms, those enfranchised felons may have helped lift both Democrats above Scott and Desantis.

Vox recently estimated that additional votes from convicted felons may have given the statewide Democratic ticket what it needed to win–about 48,000 more votes than Republicans.

For years, Florida was one of only 4 states that permanently disenfranchised felons. Only in recent years did the fight to restore their rights gain widespread attention, although many proponents of felon voting rights restoration had been saying for years that the voting ban was wrong, race-based, and is a tool to suppress votes, specifically minority ones.

Unfortunately, those cries were too long ignored by many leading Democratic figures in the state, including Nelson, who came out in support of the lifting of the voting ban only fairly recently.

He probably should have supported lifting the ban a lot earlier.

Moving forward, voting felons are now poised to impact races across the state, so long as they get out and vote.