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Mon Jul 29, 2019, 09:49 PM

Felons unable to pay fines, fees can vote in Miami under this first-of-its-kind plan

Source: Miami Herald

Felons unable to pay fines, fees can vote in Miami under this first-of-its-kind plan

BY DAVID SMILEY AND CHARLES RABIN
JULY 29, 2019 02:59 PM, UPDATED 2 HOURS AGO

Former felons blocked from participating in Florida elections due to unpaid fines and fees owed as part of their sentencing may be able to vote soon in Miami under a plan announced Monday by the county’s top prosecutor, public defender and clerk of courts.

The plan, created in response to a controversial new law overseeing the restoration of voting rights in Florida, establishes a fast track by which judges can set aside some financial penalties that would otherwise prohibit an ex-felon from participating in elections.

An estimated 150,000 former felons in Miami-Dade will be able to apply.

Not everyone with a felony conviction will be eligible: No one who owes restitution required as part of their sentence can be considered, nor can anyone convicted outside of Miami-Dade County. Felons charged with murder or sex offenses can restore their voting rights only by petitioning Florida’s Board of Executive Clemency.

But the creation of a “rocket docket” to speed voter restoration cases through the court system — a concept also under consideration in other parts of Florida, including Broward and Palm Beach counties — could prevent a lack of money from becoming a roadblock to voting, and help former felons navigate the courts.

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Read more: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/naked-politics/article233254066.html

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