According to the Knox County Elections Commission more than 57,000 people have voted early in Knox County for the upcoming November election and for some of those participants it has been a special event.
Maurice Clark Sr. had been indicted on drug charges in the mid-1990s. He immediately lost his voting rights after the incident. He was released from federal prison in 2004. However, he could not vote in the 2008 election as he was still under federal supervision following his prison stay.
Once Clark was in the clear, however, he got his voting rights restored.
"You know, this is a historic day," he said.
Clark had spent much of his time leading up to his vote getting other ex-felons to follow his lead. He encouraged them to file the necessary paperwork for them to also get their voting rights restored. Clark's friend, Charles Paine, is also an ex-felon.
He voted for the first time following his release Saturday as well.
"This is an enlightenment for the you that know us and the youth that don't know us to know there is a way out," Paine said.
Ex-felons can restore their right to vote depending upon the crime committed and the year in which the conviction occurred. You can find more information on the process by clicking here.