Supreme Court Leaves in Place Florida’s Pay-to-Vote Scheme


Voter eligibility for General Election still remains to be decided by ultimate outcome of case

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to overturn an appeals court order that will prevent nearly a million Floridians from registering and voting in next month’s primary. In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor called the appeals court order an error, adding that the Supreme Court’s “inaction continues a trend of condoning disenfranchisement.” She was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan. The case continues at the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which has scheduled a hearing for August 18, the same day as Florida’s primary, making it too late for affected voters to participate.

Campaign Legal Center (CLC) and partners had filed an application last week. That motion was denied.

“This is a deeply disappointing decision,” said Paul Smith, vice president at CLC. “Florida’s voters spoke loud and clear when nearly two-thirds of them supported rights restoration at the ballot box in 2018. The Supreme Court stood by as the Eleventh Circuit prevented hundreds of thousands of otherwise eligible voters from participating in Florida’s primary election simply because they can’t afford to pay fines and fees. We look forward to continuing to fight for Florida voters so they can participate in the General Election in November.”

The registration deadline for the state’s August 18 primary is July 20.