(TargetLiberty.org) – Over 1.4 million Floridians who’ve been convicted of felonies are hoping to vote in next Tuesday’s primary – but some of them probably won’t get the chance. While rights advocates say they should all be enfranchised, the state’s governor argues some of them haven’t finished paying their debt to society yet.
A 2018 referendum returned the right to vote to Florida felons, with the exception of those convicted of murder or sexual offenses. However, last year, Governor Ron DeSantis (R) approved an amendment to the new law. Now, before felons return to the voter rolls they need to have paid off any fines, fees and other costs resulting from their sentences.
Far fewer people than originally anticipated have been registered under Florida’s new law allowing most felons to vote, in large part because of a dispute over paying fines and court fees. By @terryspen. https://t.co/shTdbLrOEW
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 16, 2020
Felon Desmond Meade, who heads up the Florida Rights Restoration Commission, says that individual financial status should never be a barrier when it comes to participating in our democracy. Two other felons have won an injunction that prevents DeSantis’s amendment from being enacted – but the injunction itself hasn’t been enacted yet, pending a decision by a federal appeals court scheduled to sit on Tuesday.
Governor DeSantis is likely to get his way and withhold the vote from felons who still have obligations to meet.
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