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SPLC: Florida Supreme Court Decision Permits Modern-Day Poll Tax and Redefines Voter-Approved Amendment

The following statement regarding the Florida Supreme Court Amendment 4 decision from this morning is by Nancy Abudu, deputy legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center:

“The Florida Supreme Court’s decision is disappointing and cuts the 1.4 million people who voters expressly intended to re-enfranchise almost in half. By holding Floridians’ right to vote hostage, the Florida Supreme Court is permitting the unconstitutional modern-day poll tax in SB 7066, and redefining an amendment nearly 65 percent of Florida voters approved of in 2018.

“Floridians like our clients, Rosemary McCoy and Sheila Singleton, are unable to overcome the financial barrier to voting that SB 7066 presents - potentially for the remainder of their lives. A person’s lifetime participation in our democratic process cannot and should not be conditioned on their wealth. This is the reason a federal judge has already blocked in part the implementation of SB 7066.

“The federal court has also put the Florida Legislature and state officials on notice to solve the administrative chaos triggered by the law. This was all avoidable had the Florida Legislature and Governor DeSantis allowed Amendment 4 to be self-executing, as written and intended. The movement that began to pass Amendment 4 was never going to go away after last year’s election, but it is needed now more than ever to ensure everyone who is eligible to vote can register, and does so.

“Despite the dangerous decision today from a conservative court, Floridians without court debt and without the ability to pay existing court debt, should know they can legally register to vote. Their participation in our democratic process will make Florida stronger.”