Money Owed By Felons Seeking To Vote To South Floridians

We’re waiting to see what the final legal ruling will be in the case challenging Florida’s law requiring financial restitution prior to the restoration of felon voting rights. The case ironically is set to be heard by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta August 18th, Florida’s primary day. Throughout the past year, I’ve highlighted that the group behind the restoration of felon’s voting rights testified to the Florida Supreme Court that financial restitution would be paid in full if the amendment were to pass. It was a condition of the amendment being allowed on our ballots. This was cited by Florida’s Supreme Court when they ruled in favor of the state’s mandate for full payment of financial obligations as a condition of voting rights being restored. That’s when the dishonest backers of the movement pursued the matter in the federal court system hoping to successfully deceive other justices as they’d done to Florida’s high court and the Floridians who voted for the amendment. But it’s not just about integrity. This is also a matter of victims' rights.

Financial restitution has 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 are owed restitution.

According to government records, this is how much South Florida governments were owed by felons who have yet to pay their court-ordered restitution entering 2020.

  • 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 TriCounty. 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.

Photo by: JOSE LUIS MAGANA/AFP/Getty Images

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