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Supreme Court allows Florida law to take effect, limiting voting rights of some felons

Supreme Court allows Florida law to take effect, limiting voting rights of some felons
Posted at 11:49 AM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 15:17:20-04

The Supreme Court is allowing Florida to enforce a law that bars ex-felons from voting who still owe court fees or fines.

Thursday’s decision by the Supreme Court denied the request in front of them to lift the order of lower court rulings. Their decision allows the Florida law to move forward without declaring the law to be unconstitutional or limit ongoing court challenges.

Liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan dissented.

"This Court's order prevents thousands of otherwise eligible voters from participating in Florida's primary election simply because they are poor," Sotomayor wrote in the dissent.

"This Court's inaction continues a trend of condoning (disenfranchisement)," she added.

The law is expected to impact roughly 1.4 million people in Florida.

Amendment 4, passed by Florida voters in 2018, allowed most ex-felons to register to vote, with exceptions for those convicted of certain crimes.

In 2019, Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law additions to Amendment 4 that required fines, fees and restitution be paid first before ex-felons could register to vote.

Thursday's decision from the Supreme Court comes just days before the voter registration deadline in Florida. The state's primary election is scheduled for August 18 and voters must register by July 20.