Federal Judge Hears Case to Restore Vote to Florida Felons
Lee Hoffman, 60, told the court he had been excited to vote for the first time in his life, after a string of convictions that sent him to prison. Now a law-abiding citizen, he said he registered to vote soon after Amendment 4 went into place, despite discovering later that he still owed $449 in fees related to his previous legal trouble. “I was so ecstatic,” said Hoffman, among the would-be voters who are plaintiffs in several lawsuits against the state, outside the court during a pause in proceedings. “For the first time in my life, I wanted to be counted.” His attorney, Jonathan Diaz of the Campaign Legal Center, said Florida has become “the epicenter of U.S. politics” because of its potential role in deciding the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and its history of high-profile controversies at the ballot box. “When the stakes are very high, politicians and those with high interest in the outcomes want to make the system as favorable to them as possible,” Diaz said. “The democratic process works best when everybody has the ability to participate, and your ability to vote should not depend on your ability to pay for it.”
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