Florida GOP Wants Felons To Pay Court Fees Before Regaining The Right To Vote

Michael Rivera / CC-BY-3.0/ Flickr

The Republican bill could prevent hundreds thousands of people from voting.

According to The Miami Herald, on Wednesday the Florida House passed a bill which would require all court fees, fines, and restitutions to be paid before felons can vote. The bill implementing Amendment 4, which hoped to give former felons the right to vote, passed along party lines, with most of its support from the GOP.

The bill, which has not yet been heard on the Senate floor, could prevent thousands of felons from voting, as many owe a large amount of money in fees, fines, or restitution- so much so that they might never be able to vote.

This could also cost the state, as Florida doesn’t have a system to track restitution. Creating one would cost Florida millions of dollars.

The House was also considering a proposal that would free up $2 million to hire more people for the Florida Commission on Offender Review to evaluate voter registration applications of former felons.

The creators of Amendment 4 say that the bill is self-implementing, as the amendment gave the right to vote to felons who completed “all terms of their sentence including parole or probation.” This language did not mention fines, fees, or restitution, but Republicans have interpreted it as doing so.

Read the full story here.