While we’re waiting to see what the legal reaction will be in the case challenging Florida’s new law requiring financial restitution prior to the restoration of felon voting rights, there’s this to consider. In South Florida, we’re owed money from former felons. I’ve illustrated the point that the coalition which pushed for the Constitutional Amendment allowing for the restoration of felon voting rights promised financial restitution before Florida’s Supreme Court prior to suing to try to stop it. That’s bad enough, but I’ve also posed the question about victims' rights. Financial restitution isn’t a concept that doesn’t have a direct impact on people. It’s money that’s owed to victims. It’s remarkable that many who are fighting for the removal of financial restitution as a condition to vote are people who’ve previously argued on behalf of victims' rights. It’s hypocritical but it’s also wrong. In South Florida, we’re all victims who’re owed restitution.
According to government records here’s how much money South Florida governments are owed by felons who’ve yet to pay their court-ordered restitution.
- Broward: $534 million
- Miami-Dade: $278 million
- Palm Beach: $196 million
That’s more than $1 billion owed to residents of South Florida. Keep in mind this doesn’t account for any money owed directly to victims, just the money owed to local governments. There are 2,539,000 households in the tri-county area. That means that the average South Florida household is owed $397 by former felons.
Do you think it’s appropriate that you have your $397 back, as previously promised, prior to felons obtaining their right to vote? I do. Additionally, with the amendment passing by just over 4%, I have little doubt it would have failed had it been sold to Floridians honestly.
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