Florida Republicans Are Determined To Disenfranchise Voters
March 22, 2019
The Republican Party has been attempting to nullify the results of the 2018 midterm elections, where Democratic candidates and causes succeeded at the ballot box, all across the country — and now Florida is no exception. In Florida, Republicans are doubling down on disenfranchising tactics and voters will be silenced if they’re successful.
In the midterm election, Florida voters voted overwhelmingly to restore the right to vote for former felons.
Daily Beast: “In a landmark win for voting-rights advocates, Floridians on Tuesday approved Amendment 4, restoring voting rights to approximately 1.5 million convicted felons who have completed their parole and probation.”
Now, Florida Republicans want to overturn the will of voters by requiring ex-felons to pay fees and fines before their rights are restored, a move that would block nearly 80 percent of former felons from voting.
New York Times: “‘This bill is just flying directly in the face of what two-thirds of Florida voters said very clearly,’ said Sean Morales-Doyle, a lawyer at the Brennan Center for Justice in New York.”
Daily Beast: “Most important is what this requirement would actually mean: blocking up to 80 percent of the 1.4 million former felons who were supposed to be allowed to vote.”
The Republican Party’s proposed changes target low-income felons who cannot afford to pay these fees and would once again make the constitutional right to vote for many unattainable.
Slate: “WLRN reported that the majority of such fines are never paid because most convicted felons do not have the resources to pay them. Just 19 percent of some $1 billion in fines were paid off between 2013 and 2018, the outlet noted. Florida’s court clerks’ association says that 83 percent of fines are not expected to be paid off.”
Daily Beast: “Moreover, such fees aren’t even part of the sentences imposed by judges. They’re administrative fees assessed by court clerks. (Judges only impose fines meant for restitution; those are part of the sentence itself.)”