🇬🇧

Rights groups sue Florida over felon 'poll tax'

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on June 29, 2019 - Duration: 01:20s

Rights groups sue Florida over felon 'poll tax'

Florida’s Republican governor on Friday signed a bill to restore the voting rights for felons who have served their time but he wants them to pay all fines and restitution before casting a ballot, a hurdle that immediately drew a lawsuit from civil rights groups.

Jonah Green has more.

Advertisement

Rights groups sue Florida over felon 'poll tax'

Last fall Florida overwhelmingly voted to restore voting rights to some 1.5 million people with felony convictions, ending a system that activists said disproportionately affected poor and black residents.

The passage of Amendment Four in November was seen as a seismic shift in the sunshine state that could even effect the outcome of the 2020 election.

And on Friday Republican governor Rick DeSantis signed a bill to restore the voting rights for felons but added a catch -only those who've paid all their fines and restitution can cast a ballot.

That caveat immediately drew a lawsuit from civil rights groups, who claim this is nothing but a modern day poll tax.

A federal lawsuit filed on Friday by the ACLU and other groups accused officials of denying the Florida felons' Constitutional rights by imposing the requirement for fines and restitution.

Those groups contend the newly enacted law would limit voting rights to convicted felons who have wealth, disenfranchising many others who cannot pay their fees.

Florida began barring ex-felons from voting about 150 years ago, after slaves were freed during the Civil War.

African-Americans, who favor the Democratic Party, have been disproportionately affected by felon voter disenfranchisement.

A representative for DeSantis did not return a call or email seeking comment on the lawsuit.

You are here

Recent related videos from verified sources

Civil Rights Groups say Florida Legislature sidelined key issues 01:47
Credit: FOX 4 Now Florida - Published on August 19, 2019 

Police search for convicted felon in North Port 01:27
Credit: FOX 4 Now Florida - Published on August 16, 2019 

You might like