In the past year, six states implemented measures restoring voting rights to people with felony convictions, including Florida, though Florida alone raised new obstacles: the payment of fines and restitution before rights may be restored.
A federal judge on Tuesday excoriated lawyers representing Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration, accusing the state of trying to “run out the clock” to keep felons from voting in next year’s elections.
Republicans are less likely to win elections when voter turnout is high. So GOP lawmakers have been doing all they can to restrict or roll back voting rights.
Florida Supreme Court justices appeared convinced Wednesday that a constitutional amendment, overwhelmingly approved during the November 2018 election, requires payment of restitution, fees and other legal costs for felons to have their voting rights restored.
The federal court ruling was only a partial victory for voting-rights and civil-rights groups that challenged the constitutionality of a new state law designed to carry out a constitutional amendment restoring voting rights to felons who have served their sentence.
U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle made the comments as he finished a two-day hearing in a challenge to the law, which was passed along partisan lines by the Republican-dominated Legislature this spring and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Legal battles are intensifying over a state law carrying out a constitutional amendment that restored felons’ voting rights, but the new process appears to be ending an older lawsuit that challenged what one federal judge branded Florida’s “fatally flawed” clemency system.
In a bundle of competing briefs filed with the state Supreme Court, Florida officials squared off this week against supporters of a constitutional amendment that restores voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences.
Palm Coast candidates for office’s campaign finance reports will finally be accessible to the public through the web, free of charge, through the Flagler County Supervisor of Elections’ website.
Federal Judge Robert Hinkle is raising a question of constitutionality that goes to the heart of Amendment 4 and may invalidate the entire amendment, not just its provision on financial obligations.