Hearings planned on voter suppression

By The News Service of Florida
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Florida Advisory Committee will hold the first in a series of public hearings on voter suppression and disenfranchisement in Broward County on July 23.

The Florida advisory committee "will review the implementation of the 2018 constitutional measure to end the automatic disenfranchisement of most felons in the state and the impediments to voting or the rejection of ballot issues throughout Florida," according to an advisory issued Friday by Nadine Smith, chair of the Florida panel.

Voting-rights and civil-rights groups, as well as more than a dozen Floridians who’ve been convicted of felonies, are challenging the implementation of the amendment, which the Republican-controlled Legislature included in a sweeping elections package signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Under the new law, Floridians convicted of felonies will have to pay financial obligations related to their crimes before they are eligible to have voting rights restored.

The legal challenges, combined into one case by U.S. District Judge Mark Walker, allege the legislation unconstitutionally “creates two classes of citizens,” depending on their ability to pay financial obligations that many don’t even know about.

The all-day meeting on July 23 will be held at the Broward County Main Library in Fort Lauderdale.

News Service of Florida