Florida's poll tax on life-support - Front Page Live

Florida’s poll tax on life-support

02/20/2020 1:05 pm ET Brian Frazer
Florida's Poll Tax on Life-Support

ArtVoice / Jaime Moses

During the 2018 midterms, over five million Floridians – nearly 2/3 of ballot casters – opted to restore the voting rights of ex-felons who had served their time.

Paying your debt to society shouldn’t require cash

Amendment 4 passed in a landslide! The people have spoken! Right! Right? Wrong.

Governor Ron DeSantis decided otherwise. He signed a bill requiring that these free citizens pay off restitution, court fees, and fines before being given the privilege to vote again.

Just when you thought the poll tax was ancient history.

Victory! (Sort of)

Fortunately, the three-judge panel ruled that Amendment 4 was unconstitutional and violated the Equal Protection Clause.

Paul Smith, vice president at the Campaign Legal Center, praised the decision of the panel saying,

“It’s a very sound and careful opinion that comes to the correct conclusion that it is extremely problematic to deny people the right to vote as a criminal punishment based only on the fact they’re poor.”

However, there are still plenty of battles ahead. Of the 1.4 million ex-felons, the ruling only applies to the 17 who sued the state. There are only a handful of 1,399,983 citizens to go.

What you can do

Donate to the ACLU of Florida or the Orange County branch of the NAACP.

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