When the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta sided with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) of not allowing convicted felons from regaining their right to vote until they paid the fines and fees they still owed, the new narrative that “no one should have to pay to vote” was born.
Many House Democrats, including Florida Rep. Ted Deutch, express their disappointment at the decision, stating that “No one in America should have to pay to vote.
Deutch and fellow Florida congressional Democrats including Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, previously accused DeSantis of imposing a “modern poll” tax by not allowing these ex-felons to vote.
In a statement, Florida Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) praised the District Court’s decision, arguing that “Floridians voted for a stronger democracy when we passed Amendment 4 two years ago, and we’ve continued to make it clear that we will not stand for modern poll taxes.”
She explained that “Sunday, the court recognized that this restrictive and discriminatory voting law does not align with justice or democracy,” adding that “our most fundamental right in a democracy is the right to vote – trying to take away that right is going against our democratic values.”
After the appellate decision came down, Chief Judge William Pryor, who was on Trump’s jurist shortlist for the U.S. Supreme Court, said that felons “complained that this requirement violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as applied to felons who cannot afford to pay the required amounts and that it imposes a tax on voting in violation of the Twenty-Fourth Amendment,” “that the laws governing felon re-enfranchisement and voter fraud are void in vagueness; and that Florida has denied them procedural due to process by adopting requirements that make it difficult for them to determine whether they are eligible to vote.”
In turn “because the felons failed to prove a violation of the Constitution, we reverse the judgment of the district court and vacate the challenged portions of its injunction.”