Republicans have been well aware for some time that their policies are anathema to anyone who can’t give large contributions to their campaigns, and more importantly, that the average person is rapidly becoming more aware of this and calling them out for it. As a result, they’re stooping to more blatantly anti-democratic tactics by the day – seeing how many votes they can suppress, even when there’s been a mandate by the people to restore voting rights.
Even though the people of Florida voted overwhelmingly to restore full voting rights to nonviolent former convicts via a ballot proposition in 2018, Gov. Ron DeSantis has other ideas. Shortly after he became governor, he pushed a bill that required felons to pay back all legal fees, fines, and restitution before they could register to vote – and to deny the amendment to people who can’t afford to pay off all their debt.
There’s a current legal battle with his lawyers arguing that legislation has to be signed to take care of situations where felons cannot afford to pay their fees – and that voters wouldn’t have actually voted for the amendment if they knew people who didn’t pay their fines were able to vote. DeSantis, is of course, a staunch Trump supporter and is counting on a successful re-election in 2022, by eliminating the people least likely to vote Republican. Scrapping this new amendment, despite its approval by 64% of voters, would do exactly that. This isn’t just speculation – this is what DeSantis’ lawyers eventually admitted to in court, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times.
It didn’t go so well with U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle, who slammed DeSantis’ administration, and rightfully accused his attorneys of attempting to “run out the clock” with these legal battles as the influential Florida presidential primary is just four months away and the 2020 presidential election not far off. It takes a lot of cheating to alter the outcome in an election, particularly one as big as a presidential election, and the new constitutional amendment in Florida could restore the vote to potentially hundreds of thousands of people. It just became that much more difficult for Republicans to steal Florida again.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making