Stephen Wolf+ Your Authors @PoliticsWolf @DKElections staff writer covering voting rights, gerrymandering, maps, & poli sci. Get the free Voting Rights Roundup weekly newsletter Jun. 28, 2019 2 min read + Your Authors

BREAKING: Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a poll tax on people who've finished their felony sentences. It could ban from voting up to 1.1 million of the up to 1.4 million who should've regained their rights, & it also bans early voting at colleges 

In 2018, nearly two-thirds of Florida voters backed a ballot initiative to end the racially discriminatory lifetime ban on voting for everyone with felonies even when they've served their sentences. The GOP's poll tax guts most of that reform

Not only have Florida Republicans resorted to Jim Crow tactics to keep up to 1.1 million people from voting, they've also created new restrictions on ballot initiatives to prevent similar pro-democracy measures from passing 

Before Florida voters repealed the lifetime ban in 2018, 1 in 5 black adults were banned from voting, 5 times the rate of everyone else. Republicans are upholding institutional racism

The 24th Amendment bans poll taxes. But if you think Chief Justice John Roberts, who gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, will strike this down, don't hold your breath. Several other states have similar discriminatory requirements for people with past felony convictions

GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis potentially owes his narrow 2018 win to Florida's lifetime ban on everyone with a felony from voting. Because of that victory, he flipped Florida's Supreme Court to 6-1 GOP, so don't expect them to strike down this poll tax either 

Just how bad is this poll tax? Potentially billions of dollars. Billions. Countless citizens will never be able to pay off the court fines & fees that local governments impose as a draconian way to raise revenue

10 well-established democracies (& 2 U.S. states) let even currently incarcerated citizens vote, and 8 additional countries grant at least some voting rights. The U.S. is the only case where it's possible to have one’s right to vote permanently taken away: 

GOP Gov. Desantis only tolerates restoring the rights of those convicted of nonviolent crimes. So a rich white-collar criminal could steal millions & leave victims destitute yet vote, but a poor teen who committed a robery gets banned from voting for life

This is a grotesque violation of one of the most fundamental rights in a democracy. Voting isn't some privilege for good behavior. The punishment for committing a felony is incarceration/payment of restitution itself. Every citizen should have the right to vote

Within hours of Florida Republicans passing a poll tax that could ban up to 1.1 million citizens from voting, the ACLU has filed a federal lawsuit to block this Jim Crow-style tactic

And another lawsuit has been filed over the Florida GOP’s poll tax

Three lawsuits now over the Florida GOP's modern-day poll tax

You can follow @PoliticsWolf.


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