Democrats are working hard to do anything they can to steal the 2020 presidential election from President Donald Trump.
And a big part of their mission is to get as many people they believe will vote for Democrats as possible to the polls.
In many cases this includes restoring the voting rights of convicted felons. But the Supreme Court of Florida just dealt a crushing blow to that plan.
The court sided with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in agreeing that felons would have to pay their fines before voting rights would be restored, Fox News reported.
“The court released an advisory opinion Thursday affirming the language used by DeSantis in response to Amendment 4, a change to the state’s constitution in 2018 to restore voting rights to nearly 1.4 million ex-felons. Before the amendment, voting rights had been revoked for anyone convicted of a felony in Florida,” Fox News said.
“The governor wanted clarification from the court over certain language added to the law, which said that rights would be restored ‘upon completion of all terms of sentence including parole or probation,’” it said.
“The Governor asks whether the phrase ‘all terms of sentence’ encompasses legal financial obligations (LFOs)—fines, restitution, costs, and fees ordered by the sentencing court,” the court’s decision said.
“We answer in the affirmative, concluding that ‘all terms of sentence’ encompasses not just durational periods but also all LFOs imposed in conjunction with an adjudication of guilt,” it said.
This is a major setback for Democrats who wanted those votes in the key swing state of Florida. Votes that could change the course of the 2020 election.
And what the court said is that if these felons want to vote they may, but they have to want to vote enough to pay the fines that they owe.
Fines imposed on a sentence are part of that sentence. And not paying those fines means that one did not complete their sentence.
It seems like basic common sense and the governor was thrilled that the court saw it the same way.
“I am pleased that @FLCourts confirms that Amendment 4 requires fines, fees & restitution be paid to victims before their voting rights may be restored,” the governor said on Twitter. “Voting is a privilege that should not be taken lightly, and I am obligated to faithfully implement Amendment 4 as it is defined.”
But Kathy Rundle, who serves as the state attorney for the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida, was “disappointed” in the decision.
“I am terribly disappointed in @FLSupremeCt ruling that suggests yet another roadblock on what an overwhelming majority of Floridians voted for in 2018.
“We need to be working on a responsible and accessible path forward on restoring rights, not making it harder,” she said.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has been an advocate for restoring the voting rights of felons after they have completed their sentence.
“In my state, what we do is separate. You’re paying a price, you committed a crime, you’re in jail. That’s bad,” he said. “But you’re still living in American society and you have a right to vote. I believe in that, yes, I do.”
Paying fines is part of completing the sentence Bernie. It appears you are going to have to fish for votes somewhere else.