Lawsuit Challenges FL Curb of Felon Voting Rights

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill setting conditions on a voter-approved constitutional amendment that restored voting rights to an estimated 1.4 million people with felony convictions, reports the Wall Street Journal. The state will not automatically restore rights to felons who completed their sentences but have outstanding fines, fees or restitution. Instead, it requires one of three remedies: payment of the financial obligation in full; a court’s dismissal of the debt; or conversion of the debt to community service, and completion of those hours.

In November, voters approved a constitutional amendment returning voting rights to an estimated 1.4 million felons. Critics say the new law undermines the measure, erecting hurdles for those with unpaid fines. Supporters say the bill was needed to clarify imprecisions in the amendment’s language. After DeSantis signed the measure, the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the Brennan Center for Justice filed a lawsuit in federal court in Gainesville to challenge it. The November amendment, which passed with nearly 65 percent support, restored voting rights to people who have completed their prison terms as well as parole or probation, except those convicted of murder or felony sexual assault. It marked the largest expansion of voting rights in the U.S. since the 26th Amendment lowered the voting age to 18 in 1971. In a state where key races often are decided by slender margins, its impact could be significant.

One thought on “Lawsuit Challenges FL Curb of Felon Voting Rights

  1. The Constitutional Revision Commission was a good thing when it was established. It led to some needed changes in the FL Constitution BUT, they have in recent years written some poorly written amendments. This Revision was one poorest written ones, just ask any Judge, State Attorney, Probation & Parole Officer. I always thought that the offender was responsible for all those “add requirements” that the Offender agreed to when placed on Probation. It doesn’t matter if the victim is a yardman who had his mower stolen or a person who took a judges car parked on the street. Just look at the wording “Completed their sentence – Probation or Parole. I understand what that means, unless you did everything the Court or Parole Authority Ordered – YOU- to do you have NOT completed the sentence.

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