Washington, D.C. — Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for 11th Circuit in Atlanta ruled that its unconstitutional to force Floridians with prior felony convictions to pay all fines and fees before registering to vote. Following the court’s decision, Connor Maxwell, senior policy analyst for Race and Ethnicity Policy with the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:
Today’s decision is a win for democracy in Florida and beyond. Wealth should never be an obstacle to voting. In November 2018, Floridians overwhelmingly voted to amend their state constitution to restore voting rights to people with prior felony convictions who had completed their sentences. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R-FL) attempt to override the will of the very voters who elected him by enacting a modern-day poll tax was not only anti-democratic but also incredibly racist. Long-standing structural racism touches every aspect of American society. It has led to an incarceration rate for Black Floridians that is 3.6 times that of white Floridians. It has also led to a country where Black Americans hold only one-tenth the wealth of white Americans. The intent of DeSantis’ law could not have been more clear: to prevent nearly half a million Black Floridians from voting. I commend the 11th Circuit Court for upholding true democratic principles and striking down DeSantis’ racist, anti-democratic law.