Now Who is Screwing Up Voting? Florida, Again.
Here is a brief overview when it comes to Florida and felon’s voting rights:
Taking voting rights from those with felony convictions is something that has been around since possibly ancient Greece. However, American lawmakers purposely increased the scope of felonies and disenfranchisement to stop black men from voting after the Civil War. These Jim Crow laws, as Adam Ruins Everything rightfully calls them, and their effects are still widely in place.
In short: it’s racist, affects many nonviolent offenders, and needs to go.
Florida voters in 2018 approved passing an amendment that reinstated voting right for felons. This being on the ballot was such a big deal that John Oliver devoted an episode to the topic. I suggest you watch his video on Youtube as my coverage of it would mostly just be me calling people assholes between throwing out the statistics and studies. Of course, John Oliver is technically doing the same thing, but his crew of writers come up with a lot of fun ways to call people assholes and morons.
Now that the recap is over, let’s get to the present.
In a completely unsurprising twist of events, the government is still making it difficult for people to vote. While the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg tried to object to these decisions, when it reached the supreme court she and the other liberal judges were outvoted. So let this be a quick reminder about how you need to vote to make sure her legacy is not tarnished by her replacement – in case you needed one more reason.
This latest travesty is being done by requiring former felons to pay off fees and fines that many cannot pay before they will be allowed to vote. While one judge did point out that this is pay-to-vote, his ruling was shut down, and to add insult to injury, the hearing was scheduled to be on the day of the Florida primary.
Purposely targeting a poor, minority demographic seems like it would be obviously super racist and classist to everyone. It should have been super easy to strike down, but even RBG could not do that. The women who got the courts to recognize gender discrimination for the first time in America’s history, could not get enough people to see the injustice here.
Thankfully, in a surprise attempt at redemption, Michael Bloomberg raised $16 M and donated $5 M to pay for those fees. He, himself, is now being investigated for felony charges for paying off those unjust fees with reportedly no other ulterior motive. I think otherwise on that last bit, but whatever.
The justification for this is that it is a felony to give something of value to someone to get them to vote. This is somewhat ironic as the same people driving the investigation are the ones who decided something of value was needed to vote. This does not mean the end as Bloomberg is not the only one who can help.
The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition has been the driving force behind this movement since the beginning and will not stop helping returning citizens from getting their rights back even while COVID is raging. Samatha Bee interviewed FRRC’s board members, Desmond Meade and Neil Volz in 2017 and listed some of Florida’s very stupid laws when they were first trying to get on the ballot.
You can donate to FRRC here or go to their site linked above to volunteer.
Fight this pathetic, but effective, attempt at voter suppression.