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News > U.S.

Florida Republicans Undermine Voting Rights of Former Felons

  • Florida ex-felons newly enfranchised voting rights are already being attacked by Republicans

    Florida ex-felons newly enfranchised voting rights are already being attacked by Republicans | Photo: Reuters

Published 20 March 2019

Florida Republicans are undermining voting rights of former felons which were passed by voters four months ago. 

Florida passed a bill undermining a law that restored voting rights to former convicted residents. Civil rights activists Tuesday condemned the move by the Republicans.


Disenfranchisement of Prisoners, Ex-Convicts Back in Spotlight Amid US Midterms

Four months ago, Florida voters passed Amendment Four in a state referendum that allowed many former felons to vote. But Tuesday, the GOP controlled House Criminal Justice Subcommittee passed a measure which requires former felons to pay all court fees to have the voting right granted.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Public Citizen denounced the measure calling it a poll tax.

The Amendment Four was approved by 64 percent voters restoring the voting right to 1.4 million former felons.

The American Civil Liberties Union said that forcing them to pay all fines the GOP "would effectively disenfranchise two categories of returning citizens for life: those with very small financial obligations that they will never be able to pay due to poverty and those with financial obligations for non-violent property crimes."

"If this bill passes, it will undoubtedly continue to disenfranchise those who have already served their time and paid their debt to society," Kirk Baily, the political director of ACLU said in a statement. "This is exactly what we were worried about from the beginning – legislative attempts to undermine the will of the people who voted for second chances and to rid Florida of the last vestiges of its Jim Crow era past."

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