John Legend was on hand Friday to help celebrate the restoration of voting rights for formerly incarcerated individuals in Florida.
The music icon, 40, attended a special court hearing in Miami as 64-year-old Carmen Brown, who has four felonies on her record from decades ago, spoke on restoring her right to vote, as well as the 20 other convicts in attendance, under Florida’s fourth amendment.
Legend, a longtime advocate of criminal justice reform, sat and applauded as all 20 former felons gathered for the special occasion.
“I wanted to be here today because it’s a celebration,” Legend told reporters, according to the Miami Herald. “It’s so beautiful to see real people affected by this law change. They’re here crying, they’re so happy to vote.”
As the Herald reports, in November 2018 a statewide referendum passed Amendment 4 allowing Floridians with felony records to vote again. But it was changed when Florida’s Legislature, led by GOP lawmakers, made it a requirement for ex-felons to pay off any outstanding court-related debt before they could be eligible to vote. As of Friday, convicts are allowed to vote before paying off the debts.