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Wed Sep 16, 2020, 09:18 AM

The Supreme Court must step in to stop Florida Republicans from disenfranchising voters

Opinion by Editorial Board

WHEN FLORIDIANS voted overwhelmingly in 2018 to allow felons to vote, they were entitled to expect that their own votes would count — that people who had served their time would soon regain access to the ballot box. Two years later, a Republican campaign aided by a conservative majority on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has stifled the voters’ will and prevented potentially hundreds of thousands of would-be eligible voters from registering. Only the U.S. Supreme Court now can restore released felons’ voting rights, as the people of Florida intended.

Shortly after Floridians voted via a state constitutional amendment to enfranchise felons who had finished their prison sentences, the GOP legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) moved to require that, to register, ex-convicts not only finish serving their prison terms but also pay any fines or fees owed. This subversion of the ballot measure voters had just approved is a modern-day poll tax: Wealthy felons can easily afford to pay any court fees, while poorer felons might struggle paying off their debts.

Moreover, some 85,000 released-felon Floridians already had registered to vote. Reversing course after the fact would require election officials to try to go name by name, striking those who still owed court fees, without an accessible centralized database from which to pull the needed information. The system is so opaque, many felons themselves do not know whether they owe anything.

In other words, injustice and chaos are what the 11th Circuit endorsed Friday, when it sided with Mr. DeSantis. The voter-approved amendment commands the state “to automatically restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, upon completion of their sentences, including prison, parole, and probation.” Republicans and the 11th Circuit argue that paying off fines and fees falls under the amendment’s definition of completing one’s sentence, even if state bureaucracy or poverty make doing so impossible. Three of the six judges joining in the 11th Circuit’s dubious ruling are on President Trump’s list of possible Supreme Court picks should he win a second term.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-supreme-court-must-step-in-to-stop-florida-republicans-from-disenfranchising-voters/2020/09/15/60b8dbe0-f6d3-11ea-be57-d00bb9bc632d_story.html

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Reply The Supreme Court must step in to stop Florida Republicans from disenfranchising voters (Original post)
Zorro Sep 16 OP
Chainfire Sep 16 #1
scarletlib Sep 17 #2
lagomorph777 Sep 17 #4
elleng Sep 17 #3

Response to Zorro (Original post)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 10:26 AM

1. As a Floridian

I am highly pissed over the officials overturning the clearly stated will of the people on this issue. The politicians and the right-wing courts are basically tells the majority that they don't give a damn what we want.

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Thu Sep 17, 2020, 08:25 AM

2. Fat chance of that.

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Response to scarletlib (Reply #2)

Thu Sep 17, 2020, 02:46 PM

4. Justice Robberts is opposed to fair elections. SCROTUS will screw us.

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Thu Sep 17, 2020, 02:30 PM

3. 'injustice and chaos are what the 11th Circuit endorsed Friday,'

naturally.

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