According to a press release in Brennan Center for Justice, a federal court [yesterday] ruled that the right to vote cannot be denied on account of wealth. Plaintiffs challenged a Florida law that creates wealth-based hurdles to voting and undermines Floridians’ overwhelming 2018 passage of Amendment 4, which restored voting rights to over a million people.
According to the release also published on the website of The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Florida,
[The ACLU], NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law were in court October 7 and 8 seeking the preliminary injunction, which was granted in part today by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle.
The case was filed on behalf of 10 individual returning citizens, along with the League of Women Voters of Florida, the Florida State Conference of the NAACP, and the Orange County Branch of the NAACP.
The ruling applies to the 10 individual plaintiffs in this case, but the court held that the state must provide a quick and efficient process for others who are also unable to pay their legal financial obligations. Until Florida establishes this process, all other returning citizens who owe legal financial obligations are left waiting.
Floridians voted in 2018 to amend their state constitution to restore voting rights to people convicted of most felonies once they’ve completed their sentences. It was the single largest expansion of voting rights in the United States since the 26th Amendment lowered the voting age to 18 in 1971. In response, the Legislature passed a bill to limit Amendment 4’s reach, requiring people to repay any fines, fees, and restitution before their voting rights are restored.
Read the full release here.