Orlando Dispatch

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Federal appeals court rules against DeSantis, felons who owe fines can vote

Ocala news, felons voting rights, Ocala post

A federal appeals court Wednesday ruled that felons cannot be kept from voting simply because they failed to pay fines, fees, and restitution resulting from their cases.

This ruling has angered Republican sheriff’s across Florida, as felons typically vote Democrat.

Julie Ebenstein, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Voting Rights Project, said, “The court unanimously ruled that a person’s right to vote is not contingent upon their ability to pay. This law pushed by Gov. DeSantis is a modern-day poll tax.”

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According to Ebenstein, the new ruling came after 17 felons sued Florida. The ruling applies to the 17 felons, but will pave the way for 1.4 million Floridians to have there voting rights restored following an April trial that will challenge the 2019 law. The same Judge who ruled in favor of the felons on Wednesday will also oversee the April trial.

Gov. DeSantis, who was angry over the ruling, says he plans to appeal the courts decision.

In 2018, 65 percent of Floridians voted to approve Amendment 4, which restored the right to vote for felons.

Ebenstein said Florida voted to restore the voting rights of felons who have served there time and the governor undermining that vote by attempting to  circumvent the system.

Ebentein is excpecting the case to end up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court and is confident the court will rule the same as Wednesday.

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