If an agreement is not arrived at quickly in a Florida lawsuit over felon’s voting rights, thousands of Floridians may be unable to vote in next year’s presidential election primaries. Lawyers representing opposite sides in the Florida felon voting rights suit are unable to arrive at an agreement on how fast a judge should decide on the matter.
The State Governor, Ron deSantis, and Florida’s Secretary of State, Laurel Lee, are in favour of a dismissal of the case and have therefore asked Judge Robert Hinkle to hold a trial over the case November. On the opposite side, the plaintiffs are asking for an extended calendar arguing that they need to acquire evidence in their challenge to a new State law requiring convicted felons to pay legal financial obligations before they can be allowed to register to vote.
An article by News Service of Florida in the Tampa Bay Times stated that “the law, passed during this spring’s legislative session, is aimed at carrying out a constitutional amendment that automatically restores voting rights to felons who have completed the terms of their sentences.” According to the article,
More than 71 percent of voters approved the constitutional amendment in November, and felons affected by the measure began registering to vote as soon as the amendment went into effect in early January.
The lawsuit was filed after the Republican-dominated Legislature tucked into a sweeping election law a provision requiring felons to pay all court-ordered “legal financial obligations” — including fines, fees and restitution — before voting rights can be restored. The law, signed by DeSantis, went into effect on July 1.
Voting-rights groups and civil-rights advocates allege the linkage between finances and voting rights amounts to an unconstitutional “poll tax,” a vestige of Jim Crow-era policies aimed at preventing blacks from voting.
The state, however, maintains the state law carries out the language of the amendment and argues that the statute is more permissive than what is now part of the state Constitution.
Read more on this issue around Florida felon voting rights lawsuit here.