The United States Supreme Court has affirmed the State of Florida’s ability to enforce a law that denies voting rights to convicted felons who have not paid all fees and other monetary restitutions arising from their convictions.
“Over 1 million Floridians with prior felony convictions had their voting rights restored with a constitutional amendment passed in November 2018. Amendment 4, which allowed convicted felons who complete “all terms of sentence” the right to vote, passed with nearly 65% of the vote, exceeding the 60% threshold required.
After Amendment 4 went into effect in January 2019, the GOP-led Florida Legislature passed, and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed, a bill that clarified “all terms of sentence” to include legal financial obligations such as fines, fees and restitution.”
The bill that clarified the definition of “all terms of sentence” was challenged by multiple civil rights organizations, arguing the common large amounts of fees applied in Florida became an unfair barrier to regaining voting rights for convicted felons who have many difficulties finding gainful employment post-release.
“The Supreme Court stood by as the Eleventh Circuit prevented hundreds of thousands of otherwise eligible voters from participating in Florida’s primary election simply because they can’t afford to pay fines and fees,” said Paul Smith, Vice President of the Campaign Legal Center.
You can find a copy of the SCOTUS opinion on the case HERE.
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