Before this week, there was nothing stopping a non-violent convicted felon, who served their time, from registering to vote. As of Wednesday, an appellate court temporarily changed that.
In 2018, Florida voters accepted Amendment 4, allowing felons – not convicted of rape or murder – to have their voting rights automatically restored after finishing their sentence. In 2019, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a law adjusting the amendment, only allowing felons who have paid off all court costs and restitution to register to vote. A federal judge overturned the law, calling it unconstitutional because it resembled a “poll tax.”
The governor’s lawyers asked for an appeal to that decision, as well as a stay on the registration process; both were granted.
Now, the opportunity for nearly a million dis-enfranchised voters in Florida to vote in this year’s presidential election will be in jeopardy. The last day to register to vote for the presidential election in Florida is October 5, 29 days before the election itself.
According to the Associated Press, the courts have not said when they will make a final decision, but the News Service Florida reported arguments are expected to be heard the week of August 10.