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Wed May 6, 2020, 02:51 PM

Judge will rule part of Florida felon voting law unconstitutional

Source: Politico

A federal judge signaled that he would find part of a Florida law restricting the voting rights of former felons unconstitutional as a high-stakes trial in the presidential battleground state wrapped up Wednesday.

The outcome of the litigation could clear the way for hundreds of thousands of people with felony convictions to vote in a state where elections are won and lost by razor-thin margins. Itís also likely that the legal battle could go to the U.S. Supreme Court before itís finally resolved.

A law passed in 2019 by the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature requires people who have been convicted of a felony to pay outstanding court debts in order be eligible to vote. GOP legislators passed the bill after voters in 2018 overwhelmingly approved Amendment 4, a constitutional amendment that aimed to end the stateís lifetime ban on voting for most people with felony convictions.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle made clear that he would rule that Florida could not impose the restriction on anyone unable to pay their outstanding debts. The decision lines up with a preliminary ruling from Hinkle that later was upheld by a federal appeals court.

ďThe Legislature plainly intended that you had to pay the money in order to vote, and if you didnít pay the money you didnít vote,Ē Hinkle sa

Read more: https://www.politico.com/states/florida/story/2020/05/06/judge-will-rule-part-of-florida-felon-voting-law-unconstitutional-1282708

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Judge will rule part of Florida felon voting law unconstitutional (Original post)
Gothmog May 6 OP
procon May 6 #1
Gothmog May 6 #2
iluvtennis May 6 #3
CaptainTruth May 6 #4
docgee May 6 #5
csziggy May 6 #7
MichMan May 7 #8
dlk May 6 #6
Gothmog May 19 #10
truthisfreedom May 7 #9
Gothmog May 24 #11

Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Wed May 6, 2020, 03:02 PM

1. This was just another Jim Crow law

wrapped up in sparkly paper and a glittering bow. It still boils down to some people have to pay to vote.

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Response to procon (Reply #1)

Wed May 6, 2020, 03:06 PM

2. This was a true poll tax and needed to be struck down

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Response to procon (Reply #1)

Wed May 6, 2020, 03:55 PM

3. +++ agree. nt

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Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Wed May 6, 2020, 03:57 PM

4. A victory, but I have a huge concern...


As the article states, "Florida could not impose the restriction on anyone unable to pay their outstanding debts"

Note the word UNABLE. That was a key part of the original lawsuit that lead to this. It doesn't say that ex-felons who simply HAVEN'T paid will get voting rights back, it says ex-felons who are UNABLE to pay will get their voting rights back.

My concern is that Florida can follow the court ruling by making ex-felons prove they're truly unable to pay. Only those that make a convincing case that they're unable, or are judged by the state to be unable (by who? A judge? A committee?) will have their voting rights restored.

Imagine what the process for "proving you're unable to pay" could look like. Ex-felons would have to submit piles of financial info, documenting every penny earned & every penny spent, potentially over years. You bought a new TV when they were on sale? Sorry, that shows you could have paid some $$$ toward your fines but chose not to, so you're not "unable" & therefore this court ruling doesn't apply to you & you don't get your voting rights back.

I hope I'm wrong but Republicans in FL are getting desperate & it won't surprise me at all if they try to do this.


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Response to CaptainTruth (Reply #4)

Wed May 6, 2020, 05:43 PM

5. One would think the state had to prove the person could pay to take away the right.

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Response to CaptainTruth (Reply #4)

Wed May 6, 2020, 09:45 PM

7. Since they have not made any effort to figure out who might still owe

I don't see the state of Florida making an effort to sort out ability to pay. They just want to continue to block all people who have served their sentences from voting so are willing to use a broad brush to do so.

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Response to CaptainTruth (Reply #4)

Thu May 7, 2020, 03:15 AM

8. What happens to the victims that are owed restitution that never see any of it?

What is the appropriate legal response for someone who is able to pay restitution to the victims they stole from, and just refuse to comply ? Many of these were plea bargains to pay restitution and avoid more jail time.

While voting should be permitted in the mean time, it seems like they need to go back to jail.

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Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Wed May 6, 2020, 08:13 PM

6. A poll tax...

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Response to dlk (Reply #6)

Tue May 19, 2020, 11:39 AM

10. Yes this is a poll tax

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Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Thu May 7, 2020, 10:53 AM

9. Florida man...

This whole thing makes me worry a little.

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Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Sun May 24, 2020, 06:17 PM

11. Here is the ruling

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