An estimated 113 million people participated in the 2018 midterm elections, making this the first midterm in United States history to exceed over 100 million votes, with 49 percent of eligible voters participating in the election.
By comparison, the 2014 midterm elections had one of the lowest turnouts in American history, with only 36.4 percent of eligible voters participating. In 2010, the first midterm of President Obama’s tenure, 41 percent of voters participated.
This was an historic midterm election by all accounts, but there were three historic results that we as Pan-Africans are the happiest about.
The Voting Rights For Most Felons Are Restored In Florida
1.4 million former felons who had been banned from voting for life will have their voting rights restored via felony waivers.
Florida voters approved Amendment 4, which automatically restores voting rights for people who served their time in prison for felony convictions. This does not include those found guilty of violent crimes or sexual offenses.
“The passage of Amendment 4 tonight in Florida is a victory for democracy. An estimated 1.4 million people will now have a second chance and be able to exercise their right to vote, having paid their debt to society by completing their sentences. We applaud the people of Florida for making the right choice tonight,” – People For the American Way
Looking ahead to the 2020 elections, there’s plenty of reason for Republicans to stay awake at night worrying about the potential political impact of Amendment 4. With voting rights restored, an estimated 258,060 felons would likely register as Democrats and just 46,920 would join the Republican Party, according to a study reported by the Sentencing Project .
In the purple state, where presidential elections and statewide races are usually razor thin, this could swing elections in favor of Democrats. President Donald Trump won just 1.3 percent more votes than Hillary Clinton in 2016. Florida was one of a handful of states that does not automatically restore voting rights after its citizens finish serving their time in prison.
Florida, which banned more felons from voting than any other state, was blocking 21.5 percent of African Americans from casting ballots , achieving the goals of felony disenfranchisement laws that were historically intended to reduce Black voting power.
Approximately 6.1 million felons across the country have lost their right to vote, according to the Sentencing Project . Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia are among the states with large populations of Black felons who must petition their states to restore their voting rights. Source
Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal In Michigan
With a last minute infusion of cash and support that was baked into Proposal 1 from the start, voters decided to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use Tuesday by a comfortable 56-44 percent margin, becoming the first state in the Midwest to free the weed.
Ten days after the election results are certified, which should be by early December. But marijuana won’t be commercially available for sale until probably early 2020, in part because the state must still put regulations in place and issue licenses for recreational sales. “It’s not going to be an earth-shattering change,” said Jeffrey Hank, the East Lansing attorney who was one of the leaders of the effort to get the legalization question on the ballot. But after certification, “adults will no longer be arrested for simple possession and use of marijuana.” (Source)
Editors Note: With all of the benefits that could be had from making marijuana legal, why would governments not give pot the green light? The answer is predictable:
Powerful lobbyists from the stupidly profitable medical and prison industrial complex block legalization.
Global pharmaceutical companies make trillions of dollars hooking patients on prescription drugs. This has led to the opioid drug addiction epidemic sweeping the United States.
And local law enforcement and corrections companies profit from arrests all the way up the food chain. From the street cop making the arrest to the private company able to outsource labor to prisons at slave wage rates.
From The Economist:
At the federal level, the Bureau of Prisons operates a programme known as Federal Prison Industries that pays inmates roughly $0.90 an hour to produce everything from mattresses, spectacles,road signs and body armour for other government agencies, earning $500m in sales in fiscal 2016….Similar schemes exist at the state level as well, making the market of 61,000 captive labourers worth well over $1bn.
The Pan-African Alliance believes that full marijuana decriminalization use should be a part of every political agenda across Africa and the World. If not for the economic impacts, for its positive impact on the social fabric of the nations of the world.
Women Change The Face Of Washington
Ayanna Pressley, Boston’s first Black city councilor, defeated 10-time incumbent Mark Capuano in a stunning upset for the Massachusetts 7th congressional seat.
Video taken of Pressley shows the moment she found out about her win—in a forest-green sheath dress, Pressley clutches her chest before leaping to her feet.
Ayanna Presley now becomes the first Black House member from Massachusetts.
Why We Are Happy About These Outcomes
Politics is one of the most important areas of life. After all, politics determines who gets what in a given society.
As Pan-Africans , we support laws and representation that benefit Africans across the Diaspora and on the Continent.
The legalization of Marijuana and the reintroduction of thousands of Blacks that have been denied their ability to participate in the political process strikes a blow against the weapon of white supremacy known as incarceration.
And with new African voices in the House, we are more likely to advance causes that even the playing field for Americans of African descent.