With voting rights restored, convicted felons visit polls for first time

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – It was a historic day for a number of convicted felons who were able to cast their ballot for the first time since having their voting rights restored.

They marched together to the Joseph Caleb Center Tuesday afternoon. 

Ijamyn Gray may be a convicted felon, but he is now among a growing number of people who have recently had their voting rights restored.

"This will be my first very first time voting in 40 years of my life," he said. 

A march in the streets was held Tuesday to celebrate the privilege of voting made possible by Amendment 4 which passed in 2018.

Dexter Gunder, a member of the Circle of Brotherhood, and a convicted felon himself, helped organize the local push that became law.

“I don’t think you should ever lose your right to vote, no matter what crime you commit because you still have to pay taxes, you’re still a citizen,” he said. “You don’t lose your citizenship, so why should you lose your right to vote.”

The rally moved the streets of Northwest Miami-Dade County to an active polling site at the Caleb Auditorium, and with the voting booths in sight, first time voters like Ijamyn made their way inside for the life-changing moment.

 “40 years I’ve been waiting just for this opportunity,” he said. 

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