"I will continue to fight ... and I know we are going to win," says McCoy, a named plaintiff in ongoing litigation
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In advance of a Monday hearing before a federal judge on a motion to halt implementation of SB 7066, the Southern Poverty Law Center released a video today explaining the ongoing impact of the law on the voting restoration process in Florida. The video highlights the experiences of one of the named plaintiffs in McCoy v. DeSantis, Rosemary McCoy of Jacksonville, Florida.
Watch the full video here.
You can also access the video via posts on the SPLC’s official Twitter and Facebook accounts.
After the passage of Amendment 4 and before SB 7066 was signed into law, Rosemary McCoy registered to vote, was issued a voter registration card, and voted in Jacksonville municipal elections.
“When Florida voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 4 last fall, Rosemary and so many others who have satisfied their sentences believed they could finally have a voice in our democracy through voting,” said Nancy Abudu, deputy legal director for the SPLC. “Unfortunately, that vote was stripped from Rosemary when state lawmakers and the governor ignored the will of their constituents this spring by passing SB 7066 and imposing a modern-day poll tax. This poll tax disproportionately harms low-income people, especially women of color like Rosemary.”
“[M]y hands are tied,” Rosemary McCoy says in the video, explaining why she can’t pay SB 7066’s poll tax on her - paying off restitution with interest that accrues daily. “I cannot get a livable-wage-paying job … I don't have enough money to make my basic needs, so how can I have money to pay for my restitution?”
The complaint in McCoy v. DeSantis highlights the pay inequities that make SB 7066 even more devastating for women in Rosemary’s position. Women of color are paid less than their male and white female counterparts. Moreover, nearly a quarter of all black women in Florida live below the poverty line, and the unemployment rate for black women with a felony conviction is more than 43 percent.
“We look forward to our day in court Monday to advocate for Rosemary and the 1.4 million people who have satisfied their sentences and regained their voting rights through Amendment 4,” said Abudu. “We’re hopeful the federal court will block SB 7066’s implementation and enforce Amendment 4, as written and intended.”
The full link for the video is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6k-oJ3qHc7g&feature=youtu.be