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Tue Sep 1, 2020, 03:05 AM

Ex-felons are facing new hurdles when registering to vote

Tyler Kendall 6 hrs ago

Christine Vincent was hopeful in November 2018 when she thought she could vote again. Florida had just passed a historic amendment giving former felons the right back after the completion of their sentence, and she felt like she could be a "normal" member of society again.

But there's a catch: a controversial law signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and recently upheld by the Supreme Court requires ex-felons to pay off all court fees and fines before they can cast a ballot.

Many people, including Vincent, don't know how much they owe because of Florida's "arcane" record-keeping system. Vincent, a 35-year-old mother of three from Broward County, had served two years for grand theft and thought she had paid off $8,000 in fees. But a voting rights group, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, called her last month to say she still owes money - and she is still working to find out how much.

"My right to vote means a lot because I'm given this chance to not be looked at as a criminal," Vincent told CBS News. "It gave me hope, a little bit there, but now I feel like I'm starting the process all over again."


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