Pro Bono News
Republicans Block Ex-Cons From Voting in Biggest Swing State (FL)
Saturday, June 22, 2019
Republicans Block Ex-Cons From Voting in Biggest Swing State
"Florida’s reputation as America’s tightest -- and wildest -- swing state should stay intact, as a battle over felons’ voting rights seems destined for the courts. At the least, it’s increasingly looking like Florida’s 1.4 million disenfranchised ex-convicts won’t be the potent voting bloc they might’ve been.
Seven months ago, almost two-thirds of voters approved Amendment 4, which restores registration rights to many felons. Florida had been one of three states, along with Kentucky and Iowa, where those convicted of a felony were permanently prohibited from registering without going through a lengthy clemency process, and many saw Floridians’ vote as bringing the state into the U.S. mainstream. Only those convicted of murder and sexual offenses still are excluded.
However, Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to sign a bill within days that critics say will blunt much of Amendment 4’s impact. The bill passed by the Republican-led Legislature would require felons to pay off restitution, court fees and fines before registering -- a move that voting rights advocates say could have a chilling effect. So far, the number of former inmates who have visited a local supervisor of elections office to register has been a modest 2,000, according to one estimate..."