A federal judge has ruled that a Florida law requiring felons to pay all court fines and fees before they can register to vote was unconstitutional.
Judge Robert Hinkle of the United States District Court in Tallahassee wrote that the restrictions amounted to a poll tax that would prevent voting by people who can't afford to pay, The Washington Post reports. "The Twenty-Fourth Amendment precludes Florida from conditioning voting in federal elections on payment of these fees and costs," Judge Hinkle wrote, calling the state law a "pay-to-vote system."
Per Hinkle's order, the state must tell felons what they owe and whether they are eligible to vote — if felons don't receive this information within 21 days, they are allowed to register, the Post reports.
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Republican lawmakers and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) pushed through the law after voters overwhelmingly approved a 2018 constitutional amendment restoring voting rights for felons who have completed their sentences, including probation and parole. A DeSantis spokesperson said Sunday the governor's office is examining the ruling.
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