Sorry, I misspelt Ron DeSantis‘s name.
A corrupt Florida law was rescinded last year, finally allowing those who have finished their prison sentences to regain their vote. Denial of voting after prison isn’t just punitive, it’s an incentive for politicians to arrest those likely to vote against them, i.e. republiclowns arresting and inprisoning the poor and non-white people. (Speaking as a Canadian, losing your vote while in prison is an obscene idea. Prisoners have time to be informed and motivation to vote. Canadian prisoners vote at the same rate as the general population.)
Republiclowns like Ron Dysen…er, DeSantis couldn’t allow that to go unchallenged, so they decided to create a poll tax and claim it wasn’t a poll tax: The person released from prison would have to “reimburse the state’s legal fees” before being able to vote. Needless to say, only the rare wealthy person who went to prison could ever afford to do that. For those who leave prison broke (i.e. nearly all of those incarcerated) it was a yet another barrier to regaining their rights.
Thankfully, a federal judge saw the poll tax for what it was and struck it down.
ORLANDO, Fla. — A federal judge’s ruling Sunday opens the door for hundreds of thousands of ex-felons to be able to vote in Florida despite owing fines and fees.
Pending an appeal from Gov. Ron DeSantis, the ruling on Amendment 4 by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle in Tallahassee is potentially one the largest expansions of the voter franchise in Florida history, and it comes just months before the state could play a deciding role in the November election for president.
Hinkle ruled that a law passed by the Legislature and signed by DeSantis was unconstitutional because “the State of Florida has adopted a system under which nearly a million otherwise-eligible citizens can vote only if they pay an amount of money. … Many do not know, and some may not be able to find out, how much they must pay.”
The judge called the law a “pay-to-vote system.”
“Today’s ruling by U.S District Judge Robert Hinkle finally clears up an argument that should not have taken place,” the Florida League of Women Voters said in a statement. “The voters were clear in 2018 when more than 64% of the electorate voted in favor of Amendment 4, which restored the constitutional right to vote to ex-felons not convicted of murder and felony sexual assault. But after the passage of Amendment 4, the Florida Legislature, via SB 7066, sought to ensure that ex-felons, without the means to pay back all financial obligations, would essentially endure a lifetime ban on voting.
Such “fees” remind me of what “british commonwealth countries” have done to refugees. People that Australia has imprisoned (instead of treating them as refugees) have been “billed” for their imprisonment (food and “rent”, is if a concrete cell were a hotel room). Until people “pay restitution” they will be denied refugee status in the future – not just in Australia, but by any commonwealth country.