Florida's state Supreme Court on Thursday ruled in favor of denying convicted felons the right to vote if they do not pay fines and fees associated with their incarceration, a decision that was immediately assailed by rights activists as an unconstitutional and immoral poll tax. Felons in Florida had their right to vote once restored by public ballot "upon completion of all terms of sentence including parole or probation" in 2018, but the state's GOP-led government has worked to undermine the right.
In a statement condemning the ruling (pdf), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of Florida, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund said, "A federal court has already held that the state cannot deny people the right to vote because of their inability to pay financial obligations," the groups said in their statement.
"The Florida Supreme Court's decision is disappointing and cuts the 1.4 million people who voters expressly intended to re-enfranchise almost in half," said the Southern Poverty Law Center's deputy legal director, Nancy Abudu. "By holding Floridians' right to vote hostage, the Florida Supreme Court is permitting the unconstitutional modern-day poll tax."
This is how the GOP plans to continue to steal elections. They aim to shave off just enough votes here and there but in as many places as possible in critical states and continue with gerrymandering.
The bottom line, said the ACLU and affiliated groups, is that the policy represents an unconstitutional poll tax.