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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Floridians approved a constitutional amendment Tuesday night that will automatically restore voting rights to 1.5 million ex-felons who have already completed their sentences, except for those convicted of murder or sex crimes.

Why it matters: This comes after numerous unsuccessful legislative attempts and a Supreme Court appeal that sought to overturn the Jim Crow-era law. The ballot measure, which has received bipartisan support, will enfranchise more people at once than any other other single initiative since the women’s suffrage movement and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Vox explains.

The backdrop: Felony disenfranchisement laws affect about six million people nationally, but the Sunshine State remains the most stringent, banning more people from voting than any other state.

  • Florida is one of four states — Iowa, Virginia and Kentucky — that constitutionally prohibit ex-felons from voting, unless the governor approves a clemency plea. Under Florida's current system, ex-felons have to wait up to seven years before they could petition the Clemency Board, led by Gov. Rick Scott (R) and three other Republican cabinet members.

Yes, but: There’s no principle for a successful petition. In a 2016 clemency hearing, Scott told a petitioner: "There’s no standard. We can do whatever we want," according to ABC News.

  • Scott, who has defended the now-former process and is against the ballot measure, said it would make it too easy for undeserving ex-convicts to regain their voting rights.

The big picture: The amendment will shift the makeup of the country’s largest battleground state, which plays a deciding role in presidential elections. Observers say Democrats will largely benefit because the prohibition disproportionately affects African-Americans, a group that overwhelmingly votes Democratic. According to the Sentencing Project, more than 1 in 5 black Floridians are affected.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
2 hours ago - Technology

CES was largely irrelevant this year

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Forced online by the pandemic and overshadowed by the attack on the Capitol, the 2021 edition of CES was mostly an afterthought as media's attention focused elsewhere.

Why it matters: The consumer electronics trade show is the cornerstone event for the Consumer Technology Association and Las Vegas has been the traditional early-January gathering place for the tech industry.

The FBI is tracing a digital trail to Capitol rioters

Illustration: Sarah Grillo

Capitol rioters, eager to share proof of their efforts with other extremists online, have so far left a digital footprint of at least 140,000 images that is making it easier for federal law enforcement officials to capture and arrest them.

The big picture: Law enforcement's use of digital tracing isn't new, and has long been at the center of fierce battles over privacy and civil liberties. The Capitol siege is opening a fresh front in that debate.

Off the Rails

Episode 6: Last stand in Georgia

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer, Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 6: Georgia had not backed a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992 and Donald Trump's defeat in this Deep South stronghold, and his reaction to that loss, would help cost Republicans the U.S. Senate as well. Georgia was Trump's last stand.

On Air Force One, President Trump was in a mood. He had been clear he did not want to return to Georgia, and yet somehow he'd been conscripted into another rally on the night of Jan. 4.