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Judge rules against Florida on felons paying fines to vote

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Posted at 2:34 PM, May 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-25 17:59:14-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that Florida law can't stop felons from voting because they can't pay back any legal fees, court costs and restitution.

In a 125-page ruling released Sunday night, U. S. District Judge Robert Hinkle called the law passed last year by the Florida Legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis a “pay-to-vote system."

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Florida voters approved Amendment 4 giving felons the right to vote in 2018. An American Civil Liberties Union lawyer called the ruling a “tremendous victory for voting rights."

The judge’s decision could have deep ramifications. Florida’s estimated 774,000 disenfranchised felons represent a significant block in a state well known for razor-thin election margins.

Below is the 125-page federal decision on the felon voting rights: