CLC and Partners Urge Appeals Court to Let Floridians Vote

A group of people holding signs that say "Expand Voting Access in Florida".
People participate in a rally in support of Amendment 4 in Florida. Photo by ACLU.

Campaign Legal Center (CLC) and its partners were back in court on August 18, 2020 to seek voting rights restoration for people that have been victimized by Florida’s pay-to-vote scheme. A victory in Jones v. DeSantis may enable hundreds of thousands of people to register to vote in time for the November election.

CLC’s Vice President, Ligitation & Strategy, Paul Smith, gave arguments over video conference, saying that requiring otherwise eligible citizens to make a payment to vote does amount to a poll tax.

Most of the people with felony convictions that CLC is representing are unable to pay back the fines and fees they owe the state, effectively disenfranchising them for many years, if not for life. Florida’s voters have spoken loud and clear – nearly two-thirds of them supported rights restoration at the ballot box in 2018.

CLC filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court decision that would prevent hundreds of thousands of Floridians from registering and voting in this critical election year. But the Supreme Court declined to do so. The full federal appeals court then agreed to hear the case.

CLC sued in 2019 on behalf of three individual plaintiffs and a class of all affected Florida citizens. CLC’s suit – the only one brought as a class action – ensured that the ultimate ruling applies broadly to all voters seeking voting rights restoration in Florida.

The fight continues.

Corey handles media relations for the CLC voting rights and redistricting teams and creates online content. Follow @cgfromdc on Twitter