John Legend shared his support for officials from the state of Florida on Friday as 18 former felons were granted the right to vote.
The ceremony in a Miami-Dade County Courthouse was meant to show that ex-felons can regain their voting rights, despite the Republican-controlled state Legislature requiring them to pay any fees, fines and restitution first.
Voters in the state approved constitutional Amendment 4 last year, aimed at allowing around 1.4 million ex-felons to vote, and Legend said he backs efforts to allow former felons to fully regain their place in society.
“It’s so beautiful to see,” the All of Me star told reporters at the event, according to Billboard. “So many people take it for granted, this right to vote. When you lose it, it makes you realise how important it is.
“It just shows you how important democracy is, how precious democracy is. It’s important for all of us to be included in that.”
On Thursday, the singer held a fundraiser for the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), which is mounting a statewide effort to help former prisoners obtain the right to vote.
Desmond Meade, president of FRRC, said the organisation is planning a bus tour to raise awareness through all 67 Florida counties.
“We want to encourage everyone to participate in our democracy, because that’s what makes us vibrant,” Meade said. “There is hope. There is a pathway forward. We are hoping to replicate this throughout the state.”