TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – To address ongoing confusion regarding the recent federal court decision ruling affirming the ability for Floridians with past felony convictions who cannot afford outstanding legal financial obligations to register to vote, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has begun to distribute a one-page handout providing guidelines to Florida voters, local community organizations, and interested parties.
The guidelines were produced in collaboration with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of Florida, Brennan Center for Justice, and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
“Civic activism has been supercharged in the past weeks since the brutal murder of George Floyd and nation-wide protests,” said Nancy Abudu, deputy legal director for the SPLC. “Voting is an essential tool in the toolbox to address the systemic racism embedded in the criminal justice system and other parts of our society.”
“With this in mind and to address any lingering confusion regarding recent legal decisions, the guidelines offer the basic information needed by Floridians who want to register to vote but don’t know if their outstanding legal financial obligations prevent them,” continued Abudu. “The short answer is that if they can’t afford to pay off their fines and restitution, they can register to vote immediately without fear, and outstanding court costs and fees cannot be a basis for denying them the right to vote.”
The recent federal court ruling affirming voting rights for hundreds of thousands of Floridians who are unable to satisfy the state’s onerous monetary requirements in SB 7066 came in a landmark and unusual weekend decision on May 24.
You can view the guidelines in full here: https://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/jones_v_desantis_voters_handout.pdf
The SPLC statement summarizing the recent ruling is available here: https://www.splcenter.org/presscenter/victory-voting-rights-federal-court-rules-floridas-pay-vote-system-unconstitutional
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