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Appeals Court Rules FL Cannot Block Ex-Felons from Voting Over Fees

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that Florida cannot prevent felons who have served their time from registering to vote if they have not paid all fines and fees from their cases.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ three judge panel upheld a Tallahassee federal judge’s decision that the law implementing Amendment 4 amounts to an unfair poll tax.

Wednesday’s ruling applies only to 17 felons who sued the state last year.

Amendment 4, which voters passed in 2018, restores the right to vote for up to 1.6 million ex-felons.

However, the Republican-led Legislature had passed a law that required the individuals to first pay all fines and fees.

The GOP-led Legislature and DeSantis last year approved an implementation law for the constitutional amendment which restores the right to vote only for felons who have completed all conditions of their sentences.

That decision was challenged in federal court by voting rights groups representing 17 plaintiffs who are trying to overturn the law.

Gov. Ron DeSantis plans to ask the full 11th Circuit to reconsider Wednesday’s ruling.

Additionally, a full trial on the issue is set to begin this spring.