Florida's Supreme Court dashes Democrats' hopes on felon voting rights
20 Jan 2020 — #2020
In the 2018 midterm elections, Florida voters approved Amendment Four, which restores voting rights for people convicted of felonies (excluding murder and felony sex offenses) as long as they complete their sentences.
Civil rights groups strongly opposed the Amendment Four legislation signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis because it required felons to pay all fines, fees and restitution to victims in full before their sentence was considered completed and their voting rights restored.
The Florida Surpreme Court sided with DeSantis in an advisory opinion that the phrase "completion of all terms of sentence" in Amendment Four does include all legal financial obligations.
"Beginning with restitution, this Court has referred to that obligation as part of a ‘sentence,’ and even as ‘punishment,'" the opinion said. “An analysis of fines looks remarkably similar. Indeed, this Court has referred to fines as part of a ‘sentence.'”
“Although fees and costs can reasonably be said to differ in many respects from restitution and fines, various court pronouncements and statutory provisions similarly support including them within the scope of Amendment 4’s phrase ‘all terms of sentence,'” the advisory added.
Felons must pay restitution before getting voting rights back. They must also pay all fines before being able to apply to have gun rights restored. https://t.co/1BGw6jgyA0— David Goldman (@guntrustlawyer) January 20, 2020
The Florida Supreme Court confirmed that ex-felons must pay all fines, fees, and restitution before their right to vote is restored under Amendment 4. https://t.co/VVY0PLRepG— LALtoday (@LALtoday) January 20, 2020
The Florida Supreme Court ruled that the language of Amendment 4—the measure restoring voting rights to people with felony convictions—requires people to pay all court fees, fines & restitution before they can be reenfranchised. via @lmower3 https://t.co/DypqrSQg7j— Sentencing Project (@SentencingProj) January 20, 2020