TAMPA, Fla. — A Tampa man cast his first ballot for president in more than 40 years.

Clifford Tyson, 64, is one of the 17 plaintiffs who recently won a court challenge to Florida's law banning felons with outstanding legal fees from voting. 

Bay News 9 went to the polls with Tyson on Saturday, who voted early in the presidential primary. 

"This is a big day," Tyson said as he waited to go in. "I haven’t voted in a presidential election in 42 years."

Flanked by his kids and grandkids, he made his way to vote. With a huge smile on his face, he submitted his first presidential ballot in decades.

"I'm emotional," Tyson said he submitted his ballot. "I'm holding back tears. This is good.”

Tyson lost his right to vote after being convicted of armed robbery decades ago.  

"When you lose the basic element to go vote, it’s just not good," Tyson said. 

He fought for years to get that right back, believing he finally did when Florida voters approved Amendment 4 in 2018, which allowed felons who served their time to vote. But then lawmakers passed a law that said if those felons had any outstanding court fees, they couldn't vote. 

The recent court ruling only allows those 17 plaintiffs with outstanding fees to vote, so Tyson says he wants to vote for the thousands still being left out.

"This latest ruling was a victory. But it was a partial victory," Tyson said. "There's a chance that their rights or votes can be purged because they have not proven they have the inability to pay. It's that fine print that they haven't read.  and that's what this fight is about."

The case is expected to be heard again in appeals court next month. It is a lawsuit against the state over the voting rules for convicted felons, with advocates hoping to get a ruling before the general election in November.

Jason Lanning contributed to this story.