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Another Victory for Voters’ Rights

Closeup of a make hand putting a folded ballot into a ballot box

Some people think that you shouldn’t be able to vote if you have fees and fines to pay. F that!

Florida recently voted that formerly incarcerated felons should be allowed to vote themselves, which is a good thing! All felons should have the right to vote. Republicans don’t like it when more people can vote, so they set out to prohibit that however they could. After refusing to implement the Voting Restoration Amendment, they passed SB 7066, which said that these felons could only vote if they had paid all of their fines and fees stemming from their conviction and incarceration.

That wasn’t the will of the people. The people said “let them vote.” SB 7066 would prevent many people, mostly minorities, from voting. So the people, with the help of the Florida branch of the NAACP, went into action. They filed suit agains the unjust law and challenged that is was unconstitutional. They said “this is a poll tax,” which is was.

US District Judge Robert Hinkle agreed, stating, “[T]he State of Florida cannot deny restoration of a felon’s right to vote solely because the felon does not have the financial resources necessary to pay restitution. And because, for this purpose, there is no reason to treat restitution differently from other financial obligations included in a sentence, Florida also cannot deny restoration of a felon’s right to vote solely because the felon does not have the financial resources to pay the other financial obligations. [Another] court summed it up succinctly: “Access to the franchise cannot be made to depend on an individual’s financial resources.”

So SB 7066 has an preliminary injunction on it, which means it is on hold for now until the trial is over. It will most likely be struck down. More voters are a good thing. Then government can get close to truly reflecting the will of the people.

Don’t forget to check your registration status here and see if your state has an election THIS November!

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