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