He’s been called one the of the best heavyweights of all time and now he is hoping to score a knockout with his vote. Mike Tyson announced in a Tweet on Tuesday that this election year will be his first time voting and shared the news with his millions of followers along with a link to register to vote with the hashtag #NationalVoterRegistrationDay.
“I never thought I could because of my felony record. I’m proud to finally vote,” Tyson said.
The longtime champ, known affectionately as Iron Mike, Kid Dynamite and the Baddest Man on the Planet, served three years in prison after he was convicted and sentenced to one count of rape and two counts of deviant sexual conduct in 1992, CNN reported.
The conviction made Tyson ineligible to vote, until now.
Tyson learned he would be able to participate in the November election, so his voice and vote could be heard, when Assembly Bill 431 was passed last year in his home state of Nevada.
Under the new law, Tyson and other Nevada residents convicted of a felony, were granted the immediate right to vote upon the individual’s release from prison, regardless of the category of felony committed or whether the individual is still on either parole or probation.
In a report by CNN, this has been part of a growing movement over the last few decades that restores the rights of convicted felons to vote, according to The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
On their website, the NCSL points out that each state approaches felon disenfranchisement vary and that in all cases “automatic restoration” does not mean that voter registration is automatic. Typically prison officials, they explain, automatically inform election officials that an individual’s rights have been restored. The person is then responsible for re-registering through normal processes.
Many state laws throughout the US rule felons ineligible to vote. More than 6 million Americans — about 2.5% of the nation’s voting-age population — could not vote in the 2016 election due to felony records, according to an estimate by The Sentencing Project, a research group that advocates for improvements to the criminal justice system.