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Man wrongfully convicted for murder votes for the first time in 2020 election

Robert DuBoise was cleared and released from prison in August.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — He was only 19 when he was wrongfully convicted of murder in Tampa and spent nearly 37 years behind bars. 

Robert DuBoise was found innocent in the 1983 murder and rape of 19-year-old Barbara Grams in August and was released from prison. In September, a judge vacated his conviction, clearing him of all charges. 

In the nearly four decades he was imprisoned, DuBoise had never been to a Walmart or a Home Depot, nor had he used a smartphone or computer. And, he'd never voted.

Until today, that is. 

On Election Day 2020, DuBoise cast his first vote in Hillsborough County, the Innocence Project of Florida said Tuesday. 

"Voting gives you the opportunity to be the voice + the vote for the future you desire. Be a voice for those who are kept from having a say," the group tweeted.

"Robert DuBoise, freed this past September after 37 years wrongfully imprisoned, cast his first-ever vote in Hillsborough County." 

In 2018, Florida voters passed Amendment 4 in a landslide, which restored voting rights to most felons who had served all terms of their sentence. As many as 1.4 million people whose previous felony conviction barred them from casting a ballot had their voting rights restored. 

However, it wasn't smooth sailing for felons trying to register following the amendment's passage. State lawmakers then passed a bill stipulating that "all terms" of a sentence included paying off all fines and fees first. A recent federal appeals court ruling upheld the requirement. It has left many unable to vote on Election Day.

RELATED: Man's exoneration leads Hillsborough State Attorney to launch bite-mark conviction review

RELATED: 'Overwhelming sense of relief' | Man freed from prison after 37 years, cleared of murder he didn't commit

RELATED: Man serving life for murder cleared after 37 years thanks to DNA analysis, state attorney says

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