Bloomberg Backs Felons Voting Effort

Bloomberg Backs Felons Voting Effort

By The New Service of Florida

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, a former New York mayor and onetime Democratic presidential candidate, is the latest celebrity to join in the effort to help Florida felons pay outstanding legal financial obligations so they can register to vote in November.

The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition has collected more than $20 million for a “Fines and Fees” fund established in response to a state law and a recent court ruling requiring felons to pay “legal financial obligations” — fees, fines, costs and restitution — to be eligible to vote. The 2019 law was aimed at implementing a constitutional amendment, known as Amendment 4, that restored voting rights to felons “upon completion of all terms of sentence including parole and probation.”

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Bloomberg raised more than $16 million to help Black and Hispanic felons in Florida who would be likely to support Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in the Nov. 3 election.

“The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy, and no American should be denied that right. Working together with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, we are determined to end disenfranchisement and the discrimination that has always driven it,” Bloomberg said in a statement released by the coalition.

Felons and their advocates are racing against an Oct. 5 deadline to register to vote in the election. Neil Volz, deputy director of the coalition, said Tuesday his organization already has spent $5 million to clear up the court-ordered debts of about 5,000 convicted felons. More than 44,000 people have contributed to the effort, Volz said. “We have thousands of people all across the state who are hosting parties and rallying behind returning citizens. This reflects the spirit of Amendment 4,” Volz told The News Service of Florida.

The effort intensified following a Sept. 11 ruling by the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that overturned a decision by a district judge, who said in May that the state cannot deny the right to vote to felons who are “genuinely unable to pay” court-ordered financial obligations. Voting-rights groups that challenged the law alleged that linking voting rights and finances amounts to an unconstitutional “poll tax.” The effort to wipe out felons’ debts has drawn financial support from such celebrities as musician John Legend and NBA superstars LeBron James and Michael Jordan, as well as Florida professional sports teams.

22 Responses to "Bloomberg Backs Felons Voting Effort"

  1. I don’t know what the fuss is all about around here. Correct me if I am wrong, but the wording of the amendment did not say anything about *who* paid the court costs and restitution fees, right? (I mean, how could it, considering said costs weren’t mentioned at all). For all of the people who were gleeful about ex-felons being stripped of their right to vote, I find it shocking that having the court costs paid is suddenly a ‘bad’ thing.

    I would think that the regular posters here would be pleased, these people have had the entirety of their debt repaid to society, and it comes from the pocket of a liberal. This is a win win.

    The sad reality is that most felons probably won’t vote in any circumstance.

  2. Hes doing the partly right thing for the wrong reason. No citizen should be prohibited from voting, even people in jail. Only the mentality the incompetent.

    But clearly Bloomberg is just doing this to try and hurt Trump, but because he thinks its morally right. In addition, no one should get out of paying their restitution themselves. This should be part of their punishment, or they wont learn.

  3. Electioneering, election tampering, electoral bribery, vote buying… call it what you wish, but call it what it is… an attempt to steal/rig the election by the grand poohbahs of the New Demunist Party who are hellbent on destroying our Great Republic and transforming to a tyrannical Communist system.

    1. Seems like you are a bit scared. The Republicans decided that someone doing their time was not enough and that they would further require them to pay up. So, someone comes in and pays their cost allowing the people the freedom to vote. As far as I can see each person is free to vote as they wish.

      1. I voted for the restoration of felon voting rights and my understanding at the time I voted was it included restitution. The goal posts weren’t moved by Republicans. As far as buying votes, it’s quoted right there that he is doing this only for people likely to vote Biden. That sounds a lot like quid pro quo and vote buying to me. I’m surprised it’s not being legally challenged. Is the Democratic Party this desperate?

        1. The money is targeted for felons who registered to vote while the law was in question and who owe $1,500 or less. That accounts for about 31,100 people. It is not targeted to voters of any particular party affiliation.

    1. Florida Statute 104.061(2)?No person shall directly or indirectly give or promise anything of value to another intending thereby to buy that person’s or another’s vote or to corruptly influence that person or another in casting his or her vote. Any person who violates this subsection is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

    1. Why would it backfire and can you prove it is an attempt to buy votes? If there is a quid pro quo, then it would definitely be illegal. If not, then you should applaud the fact that 31,000 people would be eligible to exercise their freedom to vote.

  4. Families of the people who were wronged by the felons will benifit.
    What’s not to like about that? Bring on the money!!!
    Of course many wont really vote at all and nothing will stop the former prisioners from voting Republican. Bring on that money!!!
    This assumption the Democrat vote will occur seems like not a very smart wager in these troubled times.
    Please donate some more Mr. Bloomberg.

  5. It is. Simply doing an end around. I knew at the time I voted on restoring rights something wrong was going to come from this, and there was a reason the Leftists spent that much money after it was clear what the law proposed (and what we voted on)was not enough and now they just blatantly offer to just buy the votes straight up. That was the game all along.

      1. How would you know? We don’t have any idea what the details are and Bloomberg isn’t saying. I am pretty sure they are not paying this money so they can vote Republican.

      2. Oh, I see now…

        “Hi, I’m Mike and I want to buy you a new car of your choice… by the way, I own that Toyota Dealership right across the street… in case you were wondering.”

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