LatinoJustice Applauds Federal Appeals Court Decision to Protect the Right to Vote Enshrined by Amendment 4
CONTACT: Christiaan Perez, [email protected], 212-739-7581
Orlando, FL - Earlier today, the federal Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit upheld a Florida federal judge’s 2019 decision enjoining restrictions passed by the Florida legislature last year that sought to impose additional limitations to Amendment 4. Amendment 4 was passed overwhelmingly by Florida voters in November 2018 and permits formerly incarcerated individuals to register to vote. The court’s decision found that it is unconstitutional to force the named plaintiffs, persons with prior criminal convictions and released from prison, to first pay off their financial obligations before registering because of their inability to pay their fines.
Below is a statement from Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF, responding to this development:
“In 2018, Florida voters overwhelmingly voted that people who had completed their sentence and living in their communities deserve having their right to vote restored. Over one-million citizens in Florida were automatically eligible to vote representing the largest expansion of the franchise since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. In 2019, the Florida legislature sought to unilaterally limit the voting rights of these persons, many of them low-income individuals, by forcing them to pay all unpaid fines and fees, even those who didn’t have the means to pay. We applaud that the Federal Appeal’s court recognition of the duplicity of the Florida legislature’s seeking to strip the right to vote from people who are ready to fully participate in society on the specious grounds that, if they are wealthy they can vote, but if they are poor they could not. This wealth barrier to exercising the franchise cannot stand,” said Juan Cartagena President and General Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF.
LatinoJustice PRLDEF works to create a more just society by using and challenging the rule of law to secure transformative, equitable and accessible justice, by empowering our community and by fostering leadership through advocacy and education. For more than 40 years, LatinoJustice PRLDEF has acted as an advocate against injustices throughout New York and beyond. To learn more about LatinoJustice, visit www.latinojustice.org.