After founding his More Than A Vote campaign with fellow Black athletes and entertainers in early June, LeBron James is now fighting for Florida residents to register to vote if they have felony records.
More Than A Vote is dedicated to “combating systemic, racist voter suppression by educating, energizing, and protecting our community in 2020,” their official site reports.
On Friday (July 24) James and More Than A Vote committed to donating $100,000 to help pay any outstanding court debts of ex-felons so that they will be able to register to vote in their first state-level campaign, as told by Politico.
“Your right to vote shouldn’t depend upon whether or not you can pay to exercise it,” Miami Heat forward and More than a Vote member Udonis Haslem said in a written statement.
The funding is said to be distributed to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. According to Ballotpedia, in 2018 the FRRC was able to successfully push towards a constitutional amendment that lifted Florida’s lifetime voting ban on residents with felony convictions.
After Florida voters approved of the amendment, Florida Governor Ron Desantis signed a law on June 28th that would require that felons first pay all fees, fines and restitutions, as reported by USA Today. On July 16, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked felons from voting in Florida.
The restriction was first challenged by voting rights groups and on May 24, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle denied it as a “pay-to-vote-system.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit have since blocked Hinkle’s ruling and have scheduled a new hearing on August 18, the date of Florida’s state primary.
Already raising more than $1.5 million for its fees-and-fines fund, the coalition says that now partnering with More Than A Vote will bring more awareness and attention to the cause.
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