ORLANDO, Fla – Today the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that the state of Florida can condition voting rights on an individual’s ability to pay, reversing a lower court decision that was considered a victory for the League of Women Voters of Florida and a number of legal partners. The decision prohibits otherwise eligible citizens who owe fines and fees associated with a past felony conviction from voting this fall.
“It is disheartening that the Eleventh Circuit and Governor DeSantis have decided to block hundreds of thousands of Floridians with past convictions from exercising their fundamental right to vote,” said Patricia Brigham, President of the League of Women Voters of Florida. “This is a sad day for democracy. Floridians were clear when more than 64% of them voted in favor of Amendment 4 and elected to end Florida’s lifetime disenfranchisement practice.”
The League of Women Voters of Florida has been battling SB7066 and it’s improper implementation of Amendment 4 since early 2019. The League is joined in this case by The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Florida, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
“There are many voters who still meet the extreme requirements of SB7066 and the League will continue our ongoing work to inform those voters of their eligibility, prior to the upcoming voter registration deadline,” said Cecile Scoon, 1st Vice President of the League of Women Voters and the Chair of the League’s Restoration of Rights Committee. “Ensuring every eligible voice is heard in our elections, including those of returning citizens, leads to a stronger democracy.”
Florida’s General Election voter registration deadline is October 5 and early voting begins on October 19.