Michael Bloomberg helped raise $22 million so that voters convicted of felonies could vote in Florida. A new amendment allows these individuals to vote after they have completed their prison sentence but the Republican governor and lawmakers have tried to limit who the changes apply to.
What to Know
- Stopping Black folks from voting was the purpose of laws in Florida and other states barring felons from voting after the civil war and Civil Rights Movement.
- Amendment 4 passed overwhelmingly in 2018 restoring voting rights to felons who completed their sentences.
- Florida’s Republican legislators defined ‘sentence completion’ as paying all fines and restitution. This was a tactic to stop the new voters from registering.
- A federal court ruled in favor of Republicans agreeing that fines and restitution had to be paid by the new voters.
- Florida Rights Restoration Coalition is paying fines for those who owe $1,500 or less.
- 31,000 new voters meet that criteria.
- The group raised $5 million before the Bloomberg-led effort added $17 million.
Florida’s 29 electors are crucial in every election and the state was given to George W. Bush in 2000 by a margin of 537 votes. Later counts showed that Bush actually lost Florida though.
Bloomberg raised the funds with support from John Legend, LeBron James, Michael Jordan, MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, Ben & Jerry’s, Levi Strauss & Co., the Miami Dolphins, the Orlando Magic, the Miami Heat and Stephen Spielberg.