LeBron James Helping Florida Ex-Felons Pay Fees So They Can Vote

Written by on July 24, 2020

A voting rights group based by NBA celebrity LeBron James is elevating funds to assist folks in Florida with felony information pay excellent courtroom money owed that stop them from voting, the group introduced Friday.

Extra Than A Vote, a marketing campaign the Los Angeles Lakers participant began with different Black athletes and artists final month to battle Black voter suppression, is partnering with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), a bunch that helped finish Florida’s lifetime voting ban for most individuals with felony convictions in 2018. They hope to boost $100,000.

Miami Warmth Ahead Udonis Haslem, who’s additionally a member of Extra Than A Vote, mentioned in a press release that the pondering is easy: “We consider that your proper to vote shouldn’t rely on whether or not or not you’ll be able to pay to train it.”

There are round 1.four million Floridians with felony convictions, the FRRC mentioned. And as of 2016, one in 5 Black residents in Florida have been disenfranchised. As Politico famous, as many as 775,000 folks in Florida with felony convictions face monetary penalties that render them ineligible to vote till they’ll pay them.

These penalties come within the type of restitution, courtroom fines or different charges related to their previous convictions. Final week, the U.S. Supreme Courtroom upheld Florida’s rule blocking folks from voting if they’ve any of these excellent charges, which Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed into legislation final yr. In her dissenting opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor argued the legislation disenfranchises folks “just because they’re poor.” 

The FRRC, which has already raised greater than $1.5 million for its fines and charges program, hopes teaming up with James’ marketing campaign will elevate consciousness across the challenge. 

“This partnership will enhance lives and strengthen our democracy,” FRRC govt director Desmond Meade mentioned, including, “We stay up for the optimistic affect it’s going to have on our communities and the lives of those that are hoping to vote and have their voices heard.” 

Whereas the deadline to register for Florida’s August major has already handed, residents have till Oct. 5 to register for the presidential election on Nov. 3. Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, at the moment holds a 13-point lead over President Donald Trump within the state, in response to a Quinnipiac College ballot launched Thursday. 

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