Florida gov signs law requiring felons to pay off fines before they can vote

Florida gov signs law requiring felons to pay off fines before they can vote
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisFlorida gov says arrested Giuliani associate was seen as a top Trump supporter in the state Backlash erupts at video depicting Trump killing media, critics WHCA calls on Trump to denounce video depicting him shooting media outlets MORE (R) signed a bill Friday to require felons to pay off restitution, court fees and fines before regaining the right to vote.

The bill, put forth by state Republicans, comes after Floridians voted in November to pass an amendment restoring voter registration rights to about 1.4 million ex-convicts in the state. 

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Former offenders who have completed “all terms of their sentence including parole or probation” had their voting rights automatically restored in January. The legislation does not apply to Floridians convicted of murder or sexual offenses, however.

But critics have argued the bill signed by DeSantis on Friday seeks to intentionally undermine the amendment, with many Democrats calling it a modern-day "poll tax" that will keep felons disenfranchised. 

Advocacy groups including the American Civil Liberties Union had already suggested they would sue if DeSantis signed the bill. While the bill signed Friday offers the opportunity for fines to be dismissed on a case-by-case basis, groups argue many felons will be unable to pay off their debt and lose their right to vote.

Prior to the amendment’s passage in November, Florida was one of only three states, along with Kentucky and Iowa, that permanently barred ex-convicts from registering to vote without first going through a lengthy clemency process.