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Tags: conservativethinktanks | florida | felons

Conservative Think Tanks Slam Fla. Ruling on Voting Rights for Felons

Conservative Think Tanks Slam Fla. Ruling on Voting Rights for Felons

By    |   Monday, 20 January 2020 07:49 PM EST

The Florida Supreme Court’s ruling that felons must pay all fines, fees, and restitution to victims before having their voting rights restored “violates the bedrock guarantee of equal rights that every citizen enjoys,” two conservative think tanks argued Friday in an opinion to a federal appellate court, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

The Cato Institute and R Street Institute said that because “people charged with crimes are often indigent,” the “proliferation of financial obligations has created an ever-increasing cohort of society that is are kept in poverty by its continuing inability to pay court debt.”

Amendment 4, which was enacted in January 2019, was set to restore the right to vote to 1.4 million people in Florida. But the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday sided with GOP lawmakers who have argued that felons must have completed “all terms of sentence” before registering to vote.

“We conclude that the phrase, when read and understood in context, plainly refers to obligations and includes ‘all’ — not some — LFOs [legal financial obligations] imposed in conjunction with an adjudication of guilt,” justices wrote.

According to the Miami Herald, it is believed that hundreds of thousands of felons owe but are unable to immediately pay off the amounts.

Nancy Abudu, deputy legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, also denounced the move.

“By holding Floridians’ right to vote hostage, the Florida Supreme Court is permitting the unconstitutional modern-day poll tax in SB 7066, and redefining an amendment nearly 65 percent of Florida voters approved of in 2018,” Abudu said in a statement.

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Politics
The Florida Supreme Court's ruling that felons must pay all fines, fees, and restitution to victims before having their voting rights restored "violates the bedrock guarantee of equal rights that every citizen enjoys," two conservative think tanks argued Friday in an...
conservativethinktanks, florida, felons
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2020-49-20
Monday, 20 January 2020 07:49 PM
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