Felons in a federal lawsuit who have completed their time behind bars but can’t afford to pay court-ordered fees and fines can continue to register to vote but cannot cast ballots yet, under an order issued this week by a federal judge.
U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle rejected part of a request from the state to put on hold an October ruling in a battle stemming from a constitutional amendment designed to restore voting rights to convicted felons.
Hinkle’s October ruling found that a state law requiring felons to pay “legal financial obligations” to be eligible to vote ran afoul of the amendment. Hinkle’s Oct. 18 decision said Florida cannot deny the right to vote to felons who have served their sentences but are “genuinely unable” to pay legal financial obligations.
Gov. Ron DeSantis and his administration appealed the ruling and asked Hinkle to put his preliminary injunction on hold while the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals considers the case.