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Florida Can’t Bar Ex-Felons From Voting Just Because They’re Poor, Appeals Court Rules

Slate: Florida may not prohibit ex-felons from voting merely because they can’t afford to pay court fines and fees, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...

The court’s decision marks a blow to Republican efforts to hobble Amendment 4, a constitutional amendment restoring suffrage to more than 1 million formerly incarcerated Floridians. The opinion is also one of the most vehement condemnations of wealth-based voter suppression ever issued by a federal court.

Florida’s ex-felons, the court declared, “are not punished in proportion to their culpability but to their wealth—equally guilty but wealthier felons are offered access to the ballot while these plaintiffs continue to be disenfranchised, perhaps forever.” By doing so, the state “unconstitutionally punishes a class of felons based only on their wealth.”

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