Limiting access to voting has long been a battle the GOP is willing to fight. Even when the people vote to ease restrictions on the act, the GOP comes through with a law that basically says “Sike, lol, you thought.” Florida’s latest attempt at voter suppression has, for the time being, been put on hold.
CNN reports that the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Florida has decided to not review its decision to let an injunction on a state law that was instituted last year to prevent the formerly incarcerated from voting unless they paid back all court-ordered fines and legal fees. This law came into effect after 65 percent of Florida voted to restore voting rights for former felons. This meant 1.4 million people were given the right to vote. Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis wasn’t feeling that, so he and the Florida legislature got to work on a law that would still limit their capacity to vote.
In a report submitted in court, University of Florida professor Daniel Smith concluded that over 774,000 people, or about 77% of those with felony convictions, across the state’s 67 counties cannot register to vote because of outstanding financial obligations.
Numerous advocacy groups filed lawsuits against Florida, and in October, District Court Judge Robert Hinkle allowed a temporary injunction on the law that allowed the formerly incarcerated to register to vote regardless of their legal fees. In February, the appeals court upheld that injunction.
This is not the end of the fight, as a trial is set to begin at the end of April in front of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. I expect this to be a long-fought battle as Republicans are desperate to keep voting for certain segments of the population as low as possible. The president said himself that the more people vote, the less likely a Republican will be elected.