I’m sure many of us found ourselves last night glued to our television screens and incessantly checking our phones for updates on the election results.
While we eagerly watched political analysts collect and frantically synthesize the data as numbers streamed in, some major state legislation was also passed last night.
The nation’s eyes were on the state of Florida last night for the much-anticipated governor race between the Democratic candidate, Mayor Andrew Gillum and the Republican candidate, Ron De Santis.
While progressives may despair at the results of Gillum losing the governor election, Floridians, however, did vote to pass Amendment 4 that will restore voting rights to 1.4 million people with previous felony convictions.
This is huge.
Florida has one of the nation’s strictest laws when it comes to incarceration and has one of the nation’s highest rates of felon disenfranchisement. While most states impose voting restrictions on felons, most of these laws bar people who are currently in prison or until the released felon finishes their parole time.
In contrast, Florida prohibits people from voting even after they’ve completed their sentences. Before this legislation, 1 in 10 adults who are of voting age, and almost one in four African American adults were prohibited from voting for life because of a previous felony conviction.
The restoring of these voting rights, however, exclude those convicted of murder and felony sex crimes.
In California, San Francisco passed a $300 million dollar bill to address the city’s homelessness problem.
Approved by 60% of voters, the legislation of Proposition C will impose a tax on the city’s biggest employers, aka Silicon Valley, in order to address the homelessness that has become characteristic of the city.
With rent and the cost of living in the city sky-rocketing as a consequence of the city transforming into an international hub for IT companies, these factors have only exacerbated the city’s homelessness problem.
With major tech corporations and companies benefiting from San Fransico’s major tax breaks, it is only fair that these companies pay their dues and give back.
View this post on Instagram
On the eve of Election Day in America, more than 31 million people had already cast their votes —far more than the 19 million who voted early at this point during the 2014 midterms. In fact, it’s more than the 22 million early votes cast in the entire 2014 election. (📸: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP, Drew Angerer/Getty Images, Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
The 2018 midterm elections having appeared to have significantly superseded previous figures of voter turnouts.
Meanwhile, 6 million Americans are still unable to vote this year because of previous felony records. Yet, as incarceration is an issue that disproportionately affects people of color nationwide, the need for criminal justice and prison reform have been a part of the campaign of many candidates nation-wide.
Plus, while every homeless person has the right to vote, there are a lot of logistical barriers that prevent homeless people from being able to do so.
Most of the time, homeless people, especially those who live in rural locations can’t afford transportation to the county elections office or their local polling place.
The displacement of homeless people leaves them without a mailing address and often without a photo I.D. which proves to be an issue when it comes time to fill out a registration form.
Even if states do have less strict laws around photo I.D., this still proves to be an issue for first-time registering voters who are required to provide a drivers license, bank statements, I.D and other forms of residency. Evidently, this is a monumental challenge to homeless youth who make up 1.7 million of the nation’s population.