Tuesday's election brings out first-time voters

At 34-years-old, Carlos Flores, owner of an artisanal sourdough bakery in Miami, Florida, is voting in the U.S. for the first time.

Born in Mexico, Flores became a citizen in 2018.

While he is eager to vote, Flores is less enthusiastic about who he's voting for.

"Personally I don't feel super excited about Joe Biden, but it's a step, it's a step towards the right direction."

Across the hotly-contested state of Florida more than 8.6 million people have already cast a ballot. Some, for the first time.

And they include Floridians with felony convictions, such as ex-felon Yraida Guanipa -- a 58 year old activist and PH.D. student

“After I was released from prison. I couldn't do this, I couldn't do that."

Guanipa was filled with joy after casting a ballot for the first time. Though she won’t say who she voted for.

"The vote doesn't mean that you belong to this party or to the other party. The vote means that you vote for the people that listen and understand your problems. Voting for me with that knowledge and with the joyful moment that I was part of it was a meaningful experience."

The former felon who served 11 years after a drug conspiracy conviction, was able to register in 2018 after working with hundreds of others to get Florida to change its constitution and allow 1.4 million ex-felons a chance to vote. There are still hurdles, however, ex-felons in Florida can only vote after paying their outstanding court costs, fees and fines.

With its 29 electoral votes, Florida is crucial to win the White House, especially for President Donald Trump.

And given how often races in Florida are decided by razor thin margins, these new voters could be enough to tilt the state and possibly the entire race toward one candidate.

Video Transcript

- At 34 years old, Carlos Flores, owner of an artisanal sourdough bakery in Miami, is voting in the US for the first time. Born in Mexico, Flores became a citizen in 2018. While he is eager to vote, Flores is less enthusiastic about who he's voting for.

CARLOS FLORES: Personally, I don't feel, like, super excited about Joe Biden. But it's-- it's a step. It's a step towards the right direction.

- Across the hotly contested state of Florida, more than 8.6 million people have already cast their ballots, some for the first time.

YRAIDA GUANIPA: [SPEAKING SPANISH]

- And they include Floridians with felony convictions, such as ex-felon Yraida Guanipa, a 58-year-old activist and PhD student.

YRAIDA GUANIPA: After I was released from-- from prison, I couldn't do this, I couldn't do that.

- Guanipa was filled with joy after casting a ballot for the first time, though she won't say who she voted for.

YRAIDA GUANIPA: The vote doesn't mean that you belong to this party or to the other party. The vote means that you vote for the people who understand and listen your problems. Voting, for me, with that knowledge and with the joyful moment that I was part of it, was a meaningful experience.

- The former felon, who served 11 years after a drug conspiracy conviction, was able to register in 2018 after working with hundreds of others to get Florida to change its constitution and allow 1.4 million ex-felons a chance to vote. There are still hurdles, however. Ex-felons in Florida can only vote after paying their outstanding court costs, fees, and fines.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

With its 29 electoral votes, Florida is crucial to win the White House, especially for President Donald Trump. And given how often races in Florida are decided by razor-thin margins, these new voters could be enough to tilt the state, and possibly the entire race, toward one candidate.