Racial Justice Organization Issues Statement on Florida’s Amendment 4 Hearing
ATLANTA – Today, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals held a hearing on the case Kelvin Jones; Rosemary McCoy, et al v. Governor of Florida, et al., a case that will determine whether Floridians with prior felony convictions must repay fines and fees before registering to vote. The hearing represents a setback after the Northern District Court of Florida previously ruled Florida’s requirement to pay fees as a condition of voting unconstitutional. The requirement, passed by the Florida legislature, directly attacked Amendment 4, Florida’s historic ballot measure restoring voting rights to 1.4 million Floridians with felony convictions. Advancement Project National Office, a multi-racial civil rights organization issued the following statement:
“Today is Election Day in Florida and more than 700,000 Returning Citizens are watching today’s oral arguments instead of casting a ballot in state and local elections. No Floridian’s right to vote should hinge upon the amount of money they have. No Floridian should have to choose between participating in democracy and food for their families, housing, childcare or transportation to work.
“As advocates argue before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that all people should have the right to vote free from wealth discrimination, we must continue the fight on the ground to ensure Floridians with prior felony convictions are able to vote in free, fair and safe elections. In 2018, Floridians sent a clear message to Tallahassee and the nation that felony disenfranchisement was an unacceptable practice that harmed Florida’s communities and democracy. On Election Day, we continue to advocate for a just court ruling that would unlock the vote for Florida’s Returning Citizens.”