Florida GOP Move to Mute Effects of Restoring Felons Voting Rights

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#1 Edited by mattbbpl (16985 posts) -

Last election Florida voters passed a bill ending the disenfranchisement of most voters who had previously been convicted of felonies. This amounted to roughly 10% of otherwise eligible voters in t he state regaining their right to vote.

State Republicans don't like that one bit, and they're moving to mute the effects of the initiative.

Florida legislators advanced a bill on Tuesday that is expected to limit the number of former felons who can vote, in part by requiring former felons to pay back all court fees and fines before they can register.

Critics say the measure hits lower-income Floridians hardest and is designed to defy the will of the voters, who passed a constitutional amendment last year restoring voting rights to some felons who have completed their sentences without any mention of fines and fees. Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., wrote on Twitter that the measure was "a poll tax by any other name."

On Tuesday, a Republican-controlled committee passed a measure that would require felons to pay back all court fees and fines — even if they are slowly paying those costs back in a court-approved payment plan, for instance — before they can register to vote.

"Keeping voters who can’t afford to pay their fees immediately, keeping them disenfranchised for additional years, decades, or for the rest of their life, is not what was contemplated by voters who passed this amendment," she said.

Link

I expect this will eventually be challenged in court, but it will almost surely impact an election cycle or two either way.

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#2 Posted by br0kenrabbit (15949 posts) -

The GOP hates democracy, nothing new.

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#4 Posted by mattbbpl (16985 posts) -

@br0kenrabbit: I've been saying for a while now that they've ceased to be a legitimate democratic party, and I stand by that.

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#5 Posted by HoolaHoopMan (10600 posts) -

@br0kenrabbit said:

The GOP hates democracy, nothing new.

Basically this.

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#6 Posted by Stevo_the_gamer (45137 posts) -

Pay back debts to society is a reasonable expectation.

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#7 Posted by mattbbpl (16985 posts) -

@Stevo_the_gamer said:

Pay back debts to society is a reasonable expectation.

They've served their sentences. They're literally withholding voting rights from people who can't pay court costs and legal fees.

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#8 Posted by mrbojangles25 (43775 posts) -

@Stevo_the_gamer said:

Pay back debts to society is a reasonable expectation.

It is, to an extent. Seize their house, garnish their wages, etc...but don't take away their right to vote.

As far as the whole "debt to society" thing, I think they did that when they served their jail/prison time. I know many of us want to think "once a felon, always a felon" as far as behavior (and there might be truth to that), but from a purely democratic and pragmatic standpoint, these guys have served their debt.

We make a big deal out of voting and not voting, it's time to put our money where our mouth is and get everyone that can and should vote to vote. This is just another loophole they're trying to use to suppress voters.

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#9 Posted by sonicare (56647 posts) -

9/10ths of democrats are convicted felons, so this would be a major coup.

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#10 Posted by Stevo_the_gamer (45137 posts) -

@mrbojangles25: I find no ill will towards the removal of rights of those who violate the laws of society; the Constitution allows it, and will continue to allow it. Serving time is meaningless to me unless one can aptly establish a consistent path of correct choices made on an adhoc basis. A request to have these convicted felons pay back what is owed, be it fines and/or restitution, is by no means an unreasonable act.

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#11 Posted by Stevo_the_gamer (45137 posts) -

@mattbbpl: if only these convicted felons had the same sympathy for the rights of the millions of victims they deprived them of; be it property dignity or even life. Decisions have consequences; actions speak louder than words.

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#12 Posted by sonicare (56647 posts) -

@mattbbpl said:
@Stevo_the_gamer said:

Pay back debts to society is a reasonable expectation.

They've served their sentences. They're literally withholding voting rights from people who can't pay court costs and legal fees.

I agree with this above statement.

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#13 Posted by mattbbpl (16985 posts) -

@Stevo_the_gamer said:

@mattbbpl: if only these convicted felons had the same sympathy for the rights of the millions of victims they deprived them of; be it property dignity or even life. Decisions have consequences; actions speak louder than words.

At what point do you consider it no longer ethical to relegate them to second class citizen status without basic democratic rights? Previously Florida had made that status permanent. Then the citizens voted to reinstate their rights after they'd served their sentences. Now the GOP is implementing a pay gate to get them back.

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#14 Posted by br0kenrabbit (15949 posts) -

@mrbojangles25 said:
@Stevo_the_gamer said:

Pay back debts to society is a reasonable expectation.

It is, to an extent. Seize their house, garnish their wages, etc...but don't take away their right to vote.

As far as the whole "debt to society" thing, I think they did that when they served their jail/prison time. I know many of us want to think "once a felon, always a felon" as far as behavior (and there might be truth to that), but from a purely democratic and pragmatic standpoint, these guys have served their debt.

If they've done their time and you keep treating them like criminals, they're going to behave like criminals. The whole point of getting out of jail is to get back into society and function as a productive citizen. Kinda hard to do that when people hold that over you.

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#15 Posted by Stevo_the_gamer (45137 posts) -

@mattbbpl: The ethos there was intently clear; to punish those who commit crimes against society. The 14th Amendment comes to mind here. To frame the argument that it's "unethical" to punish those who violate the serious fabrics of our society is a curious idea, one that holds very little weight to me. Again, I believe every man is responsible for the decisions he made, and there in the consequences of said decisions. Felonious acts do not always dictate prison time, thus "debts" to society include other facets... Unable to own a firearm, unable to serve on a jury, being unable to vote.

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#16 Edited by Master_Live (19378 posts) -

Sometimes I just get discouraged.

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#17 Posted by LJS9502_basic (166337 posts) -

@Stevo_the_gamer said:

@mattbbpl: The ethos there was intently clear; to punish those who commit crimes against society. The 14th Amendment comes to mind here. To frame the argument that it's "unethical" to punish those who violate the serious fabrics of our society is a curious idea, one that holds very little weight to me. Again, I believe every man is responsible for the decisions he made, and there in the consequences of said decisions. Felonious acts do not always dictate prison time, thus "debts" to society include other facets... Unable to own a firearm, unable to serve on a jury, being unable to vote.

Why do Republicans pick and choose which amendments matter?

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#18 Posted by Stevo_the_gamer (45137 posts) -

@LJS9502_basic: What?

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#19 Posted by Serraph105 (33657 posts) -

So the Republicans in charge of the Florida state government are trying to overturn a vote that had the support of 65% of the state. Tell me again how both parties are the same.

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#20 Posted by comp_atkins (35598 posts) -
@Stevo_the_gamer said:

Pay back debts to society is a reasonable expectation.

sooo what was the prison sentence then?

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#21 Posted by Stevo_the_gamer (45137 posts) -

@comp_atkins: There are multiple debts to society.

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#22 Posted by Vaasman (13632 posts) -

@Stevo_the_gamer said:

@comp_atkins: There are multiple debts to society.

One could probably argue that voting is it's own debt to society for everyone, but it seems like you'd prefer people weren't paying that one.

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#23 Posted by comp_atkins (35598 posts) -
@Stevo_the_gamer said:

@comp_atkins: There are multiple debts to society.

the problem with florida's actions is that it reeks of suppression. this wasn't done to recoup "debts" to society from former felons. if that were the case, it could have been done years ago. it was reactive to amendment 4's passage based seemingly on the fact that politicians ( not the people ) didn't want people voting.

"Even if a court waives the repayment of fees for a former felon, the bill would require the victim or organization to whom the fees were owed must "consent" in order for that person to register, adding a particularly unusual barrier to the process, Ebenstein added."

seriously, what?

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#24 Posted by Chutebox (44487 posts) -

@Serraph105 said:

So the Republicans in charge of the Florida state government are trying to overturn a vote that had the support of 65% of the state. Tell me again how both parties are the same.

What does that remind you of?

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#25 Posted by N64DD (11646 posts) -

Don't care about criminals.

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#26 Edited by Serraph105 (33657 posts) -

@Chutebox said:@Serraph105 said: So the Republicans in charge of the Florida state government are trying to overturn a vote that had the support of 65% of the state. Tell me again how both parties are the same.

What does that remind you of?

Gerrymandering, North Carolina district 9, the electoral college in 2016, the list goes on.

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#27 Posted by Stevo_the_gamer (45137 posts) -

@comp_atkins: Revenue recovery never stopped nor does the wages being garnished stop. It will always be an ongoing process; the idea is rather holding convicted criminals accountable. A shocking concept.

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#28 Posted by HoolaHoopMan (10600 posts) -

@Stevo_the_gamer said:

@comp_atkins: There are multiple debts to society.

And in this case, the money owed is the debt. You're just making excuses.

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#29 Posted by Stevo_the_gamer (45137 posts) -

@HoolaHoopMan: Excuses about what exactly?

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#30 Posted by HoolaHoopMan (10600 posts) -

@Stevo_the_gamer said:

@HoolaHoopMan: Excuses about what exactly?

To keep people disenfranchised from voting. That excuse.

As it's already been pointed out, their debt has been paid in time served, and again, in having to repay an actual sum of money. Labeling something as a 'debt' and then tying it to voter restriction is lazy.

Hell, let's make them learn juggling as a part of their sentencing, and then tie voter-ship rights to it. It's a debt they have to pay!

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#31 Edited by Zaryia (8178 posts) -

Gerrymandering and Voter Suppression.

How about just try to be more popular instead of these shady tactics?

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#32 Posted by mattbbpl (16985 posts) -

@zaryia said:

Gerrymandering and Voter Suppression.

How about just try to be more popular instead of these shady tactics?

That would requiring implementing a platform that doesn't take away people's healthcare access, undermine their retirement security, and systematically shift income from them to their donors. If they can't do that, what's the point?

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#33 Posted by Stevo_the_gamer (45137 posts) -

@HoolaHoopMan: To get convicted criminals to pay debts? There are more debts than simply "time served", such as parole conditions, or probation conditions, and conditions of release - such as continued payments of restitution to the state, victim or fines.

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#34 Posted by LJS9502_basic (166337 posts) -

@Stevo_the_gamer said:

@HoolaHoopMan: Excuses about what exactly?

Any patriotic American should DEMAND we make voting easy and let all those of age vote.

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#35 Edited by HoolaHoopMan (10600 posts) -

@Stevo_the_gamer said:

@HoolaHoopMan: To get convicted criminals to pay debts? There are more debts than simply "time served", such as parole conditions, or probation conditions, and conditions of release - such as continued payments of restitution to the state, victim or fines.

People aren't saying there shouldn't be debts, not at least in this context. They are arguing using them as a means to restrict voter-ship e.g. the entire topic.

Having someone pay a 100k fine as restitution is OK, using that fine to levy a restriction against voting (after they've served their time), not so much. These people have returned to society and will continue to have their wages garnished and check in with a probation officer. There is no reason to keep them from voting.

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#36 Posted by Stevo_the_gamer (45137 posts) -

@HoolaHoopMan: I don't see what's unreasonable if the argument rests with "paying their debt to society," where as here, it's pay "all debts" to society. Voter "suppression" of convicted criminals; such a curious notion.

@LJS9502_basic: Cool.

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#37 Posted by Horgen (120153 posts) -

It's such a double punishment.

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#38 Edited by comp_atkins (35598 posts) -
@Stevo_the_gamer said:

@HoolaHoopMan: I don't see what's unreasonable if the argument rests with "paying their debt to society," where as here, it's pay "all debts" to society. Voter "suppression" of convicted criminals; such a curious notion.

@LJS9502_basic: Cool.

i think there is where the disagreement occurs. imo the right to vote is akin to one's citizenship. if a citizen is of legal voting age, their right to vote ought to be protected. a convicted felon is still a citizen.

though i suppose then the next step would be to simply strip convicted felons of their citizenship.

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#39 Posted by Stevo_the_gamer (45137 posts) -

@comp_atkins: These rights do not exist in a vacuum; there will always be exceptions. The Constitution dictates such.

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#40 Posted by shellcase86 (4349 posts) -

Regardless of your viewpoint of what rights felons should have, it's pretty scummy and very shady that elected officials are not enforcing the will of a popular vote and are actively working against it. Again.

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#41 Edited by Zaryia (8178 posts) -
@Stevo_the_gamer said:

@HoolaHoopMan: I don't see what's unreasonable if the argument rests with "paying their debt to society," where as here, it's pay "all debts" to society. Voter "suppression" of convicted criminals; such a curious notion.

@LJS9502_basic: Cool.

Floridians disagree with your opinion on this matter.

Amendment 4 passed with 64.55% of voters in favor. On January 8, 2019, an estimated 1.4 million ex-felons became eligible to vote.[5]

And the GOP seems to disagree with Florida's voters going by the OP. It seems more than obvious they are doing this because it reduces (D) votes. There isn't much more to it.

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#42 Posted by HoolaHoopMan (10600 posts) -

@Stevo_the_gamer said:

@HoolaHoopMan: I don't see what's unreasonable if the argument rests with "paying their debt to society," where as here, it's pay "all debts" to society. Voter "suppression" of convicted criminals; such a curious notion.

@LJS9502_basic: Cool.

You speak as if convicted criminals aren't still citizens, that's what I find unreasonable (and literally everyone else here). Look at the move by the GOP. This is only in the context of the population voting to give them their voting rights back. This wasn't a previously held law, it's a simply reaction to a referendum e.g. voter suppression.

If all you've got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

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#43 Posted by mattbbpl (16985 posts) -

@HoolaHoopMan said:
@Stevo_the_gamer said:

@HoolaHoopMan: I don't see what's unreasonable if the argument rests with "paying their debt to society," where as here, it's pay "all debts" to society. Voter "suppression" of convicted criminals; such a curious notion.

@LJS9502_basic: Cool.

You speak as if convicted criminals aren't still citizens, that's what I find unreasonable (and literally everyone else here). Look at the move by the GOP. This is only in the context of the population voting to give them their voting rights back. This wasn't a previously held law, it's a simply reaction to a referendum e.g. voter suppression.

If all you've got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

I gave up on this conversation with this reply:

@Stevo_the_gamer said:

@mattbbpl: The ethos there was intently clear; to punish those who commit crimes against society. The 14th Amendment comes to mind here. To frame the argument that it's "unethical" to punish those who violate the serious fabrics of our society is a curious idea, one that holds very little weight to me. Again, I believe every man is responsible for the decisions he made, and there in the consequences of said decisions. Felonious acts do not always dictate prison time, thus "debts" to society include other facets... Unable to own a firearm, unable to serve on a jury, being unable to vote.

If that's the core basis of your rationale, then there's nowhere to go with the conversation. ANYTHING can be hand waved away with that rationale.

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#44 Edited by HoolaHoopMan (10600 posts) -

@mattbbpl said:

If that's the core basis of your rationale, then there's nowhere to go with the conversation. ANYTHING can be hand waved away with that rationale.

And guess who gets to define what these 'crimes' are!?! Those in power. Let's create incentives for the justice system to pile on MORE debt due to sentences, in theory that people would effectively never be able to pay them off e.g. this referendum would be toothless.

We already have a for profit private prison system so this extension is only natural.

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#45 Posted by Stevo_the_gamer (45137 posts) -

@zaryia: They are more than welcome to disagree; it's their state, not mine. As for their rationale for putting this forward, I think it's a valid concern, but the idea of holding convicted felons accountable outweighs such concerns to me.

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#46 Posted by LJS9502_basic (166337 posts) -

@Stevo_the_gamer said:

@zaryia: They are more than welcome to disagree; it's their state, not mine. As for their rationale for putting this forward, I think it's a valid concern, but the idea of holding convicted felons accountable outweighs such concerns to me.

They were accountable and served their time.

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#47 Posted by Stevo_the_gamer (45137 posts) -

@LJS9502_basic: Then why is there Post Release Community Supervision, parole, or probation? Why is there sentencing that doesn't include jail time?

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#48 Edited by LJS9502_basic (166337 posts) -

@Stevo_the_gamer said:

@LJS9502_basic: Then why is there Post Release Community Supervision, parole, or probation? Why is there sentencing that doesn't include jail time?

Part of sentencing. Not the same as losing the right to vote.

Basically you, a law enforcement official, are okay with denying rights.

But as long as they don't have to ever pay any kind of tax I guess it's even.

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#49 Posted by Stevo_the_gamer (45137 posts) -

@LJS9502_basic: Exactly, it's part of holding the defendant accountable by placing strict conditions on that individual.

For example, felony DUI - 5 years formal searchable, shall not drink, or possess alcohol. Oh my God, how dare the Government infringe on that person's right to drink alcohol! And now he can't buy or possess weapons too? How dare the evil government! "Ur takin' mur rights!"

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#50 Edited by LJS9502_basic (166337 posts) -

@Stevo_the_gamer said:

@LJS9502_basic: Exactly, it's part of holding the defendant accountable by placing strict conditions on that individual.

For example, felony DUI - 5 years formal searchable, shall not drink, or possess alcohol. Oh my God, how dare the Government infringe on that person's right to drink alcohol! And now he can't buy or possess weapons too? How dare the evil government! "Ur takin' mur rights!"

I missed the amendment where drinking alcohol was covered. Link?

Apples and oranges a point do not make.