U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle’s highly anticipated ruling also laid out a procedure for state elections officials to determine whether felons seeking to vote have outstanding legal financial obligations and are unable to pay court-ordered debts.
The state lacks a single database where felons, lawyers or elections officials can determine whether people have outstanding court-ordered financial obligations. Florida’s new but restrictive felon-voting law is the subject of a nationally watched trial this week.
Flagler County Elections Supervisor Keiti Lenhart is among the Florida supervisors who have asked Gov. Ron DeSantis for emergency measures they say will help them cope with an anticipated “significant statewide shortage” of poll workers later this year because of the coronavirus.
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.
The Constitution Revision Commission drew across-the-aisle scorn for the manner in which it successfully put seven amendments on the November 2018 ballot. Voters may get to vote on abolishing it–through a constitutional amendment in 2020.
A partisan firestorm erupted in the waning days of this year’s legislative session after Republicans tacked onto the elections package provisions aimed at implementing the voter-approved constitutional amendment that restores the voting rights of felons who have completed their sentences.
Who gets to vote should be driven by citizenship, the spirit of the United States Constitution and all America stands for, not by blowhardism and dirty tricks, argues Nancy Smith.
The House’s party-line, 71-45 vote drew a rebuke from backers of the amendment, who called the bill “a failure to live up to the bipartisan commitment” demonstrated by the 61 percent of voters who approved Amendment 4.
Petition-gatherers to be registered with the state, ballots would have to include information about contributions raised by amendment sponsors, whether out-of-state petition circulators were used and whether amendments could lead to tax increases.