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Thu Apr 25, 2019, 07:00 AM

Florida House Approves Requiring People To Repay Criminal Fines, Fees Before They Can Vote


Florida House Approves Requiring People To Repay Criminal Fines, Fees Before They Can Vote

Critics say the legislation amounts to a poll tax and violates a constitutional amendment that voters overwhelmingly approved in November to allow people with felonies to vote.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/florida-felon-disenfranchisement-poll-tax_n_5cc1106ae4b01b6b3efc6ebe

By Sam Levine

170

The Florida House approved a controversial measure Wednesday requiring people with felony convictions to pay all financial requirements of their sentence before they can vote again.

The legislation comes after Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment in November to repeal the state’s lifetime voting ban for people with felony convictions. Now, people with felonies can vote once they have completed their sentence, including probation and parole. The constitutional amendment exempts people convicted of murder and felony sexual offenses from having their voting rights restored. Its passage was heralded as an enormous step forward for Florida and could affect up to 1.4 million people.

The groups that backed the amendment strongly opposed the measure the Florida House approved 71-45 along party lines Wednesday. Many people in the criminal justice system accumulate huge fines and fees, and requiring people to pay those sums before they can vote will effectively continue to disenfranchise people with felony convictions.

The state House bill would require people to repay any restitution, in addition to fines and fees ordered by a judge ― even if those obligations are converted to a civil lien. The bill does not require payment of fines and fees not imposed as part of a judge’s sentence in order to vote.

Supporters of November’s amendment that repealed felony voting prohibitions say it is acceptable to require people to pay restitution ordered by a judge or fines and fees that are part of a sentence. But they say the amendment does not allow the state to require fines and fees on top of that before they can vote. They also say that people whose legal financial obligations are converted to liens because they can’t pay them should be able to vote.

“Today’s partisan vote in the House represented a failure to live up to the bipartisan commitment Florida voters showed with the passage of Amendment 4,” Neil Volz, the political director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, the main group that pushed for passage of the constitutional amendment, said in a statement.
Neil Volz, political director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, opposed the measure passed in the Florida House
.

Kara Gross, the legislative director of the ACLU of Florida, which strongly opposed the measure, said it was obvious the bill was contrary to what voters intended with the constitutional amendment.

“Disturbingly, this legislation will cause defacto lifetime disenfranchisement for large swaths of formerly incarcerated individuals who have completed their sentences — precisely the opposite of the entire purpose of Amendment 4,” Gross said in a statement. “This bill merely replaces one unjust system for another.”

<snip>


Its a poll tax because its meant to keep a class of people from the polls. It doesn't require non felons to have paid up traffic tickets or other civil fines and fees like child support paid up to be able to vote.

12 replies, 883 views

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Reply Florida House Approves Requiring People To Repay Criminal Fines, Fees Before They Can Vote (Original post)
marble falls Apr 2019 OP
mcar Apr 2019 #1
malaise Apr 2019 #2
Baitball Blogger Apr 2019 #3
malaise Apr 2019 #4
dalton99a Apr 2019 #7
rgbecker Apr 2019 #5
ScratchCat Apr 2019 #6
fescuerescue Apr 2019 #8
Captain Stern Apr 2019 #9
RT Atlanta Apr 2019 #10
Takket Apr 2019 #11
Oneironaut Apr 2019 #12

Response to marble falls (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2019, 07:06 AM

1. ...

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2019, 07:22 AM

2. Hmmmmmmmm

Poll tax?

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Response to malaise (Reply #2)

Thu Apr 25, 2019, 07:30 AM

3. Last sentence:

"Its a poll tax because its meant to keep a class of people from the polls. It doesn't require non felons to have paid up traffic tickets or other civil fines and fees like child support paid up to be able to vote."

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #3)

Thu Apr 25, 2019, 07:35 AM

4. Precisely

It is a poll tax

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #3)

Thu Apr 25, 2019, 07:55 AM

7. +1

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2019, 07:51 AM

5. Republican have a GOD complex. They want to be the judge.

 

Quick to hand out punishment for those they hate. Make sure people they hate can't vote. Pedefiles, and terrorists but not white collar financial scammers. Now they want a debtors' prison.

Yet, I believe it was Jesus himself, I'm told, who suggested judging be left to God. "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

The shift of the country to the right is sadly moving so many Democrats along with it.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2019, 07:54 AM

6. Ehh..

Its a poll tax because its meant to keep a class of people from the polls. It doesn't require non felons to have paid up traffic tickets or other civil fines and fees like child support paid up to be able to vote.

People don't lose their right to vote because of child support or traffic tickets. You lose your right due to a felony conviction.

No court will rule this is a poll tax. The article is written poorly. There are no other fines added on top of restitution and court costs. Converting those costs to a civil lien does not change the fact that they were part of the sentence for a felony conviction.

I voted in favor of this, but this should have been expected as the amendment said that all terms of the sentence had to be satisfied.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2019, 11:33 AM

8. If they have paid their debt to socierty they should be allowed to vote

We usually mean the jail time associated.

But it also means their actual debt.

Felons that owe their victims restitution shouldnt be allowed to vote, nor should felons who haven't paid their fines to government (which goes to help all victims)

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2019, 12:08 PM

9. I don't have a problem with that, since that was the original intention.

The director of the ACLU wrote a memo prior to the referendum vote that described how the scale of the amendment's impact should be described. Here is how he said it should be described:

"Under Amendment 4, as many as 1.4 million Foridians who have completed supervision of a felony sentence have earned a 2cnd chance to fully participate in their community and could be eligible for the restoration of their ability to vote upon payment of fines, fees, and restitution."

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5775917-Florida-Simon-Mauer-Memo.html

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2019, 12:15 PM

10. Anything to slow down/prevent voting

is what the republican party will do.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2019, 12:18 PM

11. I wonder if there are any stats on how many this actually effects

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2019, 12:18 PM

12. This is what Bernie was warning us about.

Everybody over a certain age should be able to vote. Otherwise, you get politically motivated, creeping restrictions on who can vote.

Next, it might be people who have student loans, or people with outstanding credit card debt. All it does is increasingly disenfranchise the poor.

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