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Judges: Florida felons can’t vote until they pay fines, fees

Desmond Meade, executive director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, speaks at a press conference outside Orlando city hall last month. Meade has become the face of Amendment 4, advocating for the restoration of voting rights for people who have completed felony sentences. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled that Florida felons must pay all fines, restitution and legal fees before they can regain their right to vote.

Friday’s order reverses a lower court judge’s decision that gave Florida felons the right to vote regardless of outstanding financial obligations.

The ruling disappoints voting rights activists and could have national implications in November’s presidential election.

Florida is considered a must-win state in President Donald’s Trump’s bid for reelection.

Florida’s disenfranchised felons represent a significant bloc in a state well known for razor-thin election margins. Democrats hoped for an advantage among former felon voters.


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