DeSantis To Appeal Ruling Striking Down Florida’s So-Called Felon ‘Poll Tax’ Law

UNITED STATES - MAY 29: Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., speaks with a fellow committee member before the start of the House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Oversight of the United States Department of Homeland Security" o... UNITED STATES - MAY 29: Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., speaks with a fellow committee member before the start of the House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Oversight of the United States Department of Homeland Security" on Thursday, May 29, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) MORE LESS
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May 27, 2020 9:37 a.m.

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) said Tuesday that he’ll appeal a federal judge’s decision striking down a Florida GOP law that restricted the voting rights of ex-felons.

“It’ll go to the 11th Circuit, and we’ll see what happens there,” DeSantis told reporters, according to the Orlando Sentinel, referring to the federal appellate circuit that covers Florida.

The comments were not surprising given that Florida has already taken aggressive actions to defend the 2019 law. The law was passed after voters approved a 2018 constitutional amendment allowing certain ex-felons to regain their right to vote.

The 2019 law added the requirement that those ex-felons pay back all court fines and fees before their franchise is restored. On Sunday, a Tallahassee-based federal judge struck down the law, calling it an “unconstitutional pay-to-vote system.”

His ruling specifically blocked enforcement of the law against ex-felons who were unable to pay off their legal obligations.

The judge, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle, said that much of his ruling was based on what the 11th Circuit had already said in preliminary orders in the case. Indeed, the appeals court has largely backed Hinkle’s approach when Florida appealed issues that arose earlier in the case.

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