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Federal court: Florida can't bar felons from vote over fines, fees

Posted: 11:28 AM, Feb 19, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-19 17:32:07-05
felon voting rights.jpg

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled that Florida cannot bar felons who served their time from registering to vote simply because they have failed to pay all fines and fees stemming from their cases.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld a Tallahassee federal judge's decision that the law implementing Amendment 4 amounted to an unfair poll tax.

Amendment 4 was passed overwhelmingly by voters in 2018 to allow as many as 1.6 million ex-felons to regain their right to vote.

The Republican-led Legislature passed a law saying they had to pay any fines and fees first. GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis plans to ask the full 11th Circuit to reconsider the ruling.