- advertisement -
Posted under: Politics

Some Ex-Felons Were Required To Pay To Register To Vote. The Federal Court Just Ruled It Unlawful.

Freed ex-felons in Florida can't register to vote until they pay their dues.

In Florida, a federal court ruled on Wednesday against a law prohibiting ex-felons from registering to vote if they have not paid all of their fines and fees.

Amendment 4 restored the right to vote for felons who've completed their sentences, but Florida's Republicans are attempting to enforce additional measures to ensure difficulties for ex-felons in registering to vote, requiring them to pay all fines for their sentences to be deemed complete, the Washington Post reported.

"A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Tallahassee federal judge's preliminary injunction that the implementation of Amendment 4 amounted to an unfair poll tax that would disenfranchise many of them," the Post reported.  

Helen Ferre, the chief spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, said that "We disagree with the ruling," according to the Associated Press.

There are voting rights groups representing 17 plaintiffs suing the federal court in hopes of overturning the restrictive law.

Last year's preliminary injunction allowed felons to register to vote, whether or not they were able to pay their fines, restitution and other fees, the AP reported. It was issued ahead of a full trial that is scheduled to begin in April.

There are about 1.6 million ex-felons in Florida who have completed their prison sentences who could regain voting privileges under Amendment 4, the Washington Post reported. About 80% of Florida felons receive fees, fines or restitution at sentencing, many of whom are unable to pay them, according to a court filing via NBC News.

The lawsuit is seen as a win among Democrats who are fighting for the right to vote.

“This is a tremendous win for our clients and for our democracy," said Sean Morales-Doyle, a senior counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice via the AP.“ [It] confirmed once again that the U.S. Constitution does not allow states to deny the right to vote to citizens because of their inability to pay a fine or fee.”

- advertisement -
Political Reporter For The Culture