AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
LeBron James’ voting rights group ‘More Than A Vote’ is donating $100,000 to help register Florida voters with felony records by paying off their court debts and fines. More Than A Vote is donating the money to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to help pay outstanding court debts of ex-felons so they can register to vote in November.
Ex-felons Unable To Vote Due To Debts
In 2018 The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition successfully lobbied to have a state constitutional amendment passed, lifting Florida’s lifetime voting ban on people with felony convictions. The ruling restored voting rights for an estimated 1.4 million people in the Florida. Prior to the amendment, Florida had the highest number of disenfranchised citizens in the U.S.
Despite this progress, the state’s Republican-led Legislature passed a law requiring former felons to pay all outstanding court debts and fines before they can register to vote. The Supreme Court upheld the law last week without explaination.
As it stands, there’s an estimated 775,000 people currently unable to vote because of unpaid fines.
More Than A Vote Paying Outstanding Court Fines
The coalition has already raised $1.5 million for its “Amendment 4 Fines and Fees Campaign.” More Than A Vote will donate $100,000, but the partnership will also bring attention to the cause.
“Your right to vote shouldn’t depend upon whether or not you can pay to exercise it,” said Miami Heat forward and Florida native Udonis Haslem. Haslem is also a member of ‘More Than A Vote.’
James founded More Than A Vote in June after seeing reports of hours-long lines at polling places in minority neighborhoods in Atlanta. The 501(c)(4) nonprofit is focused on raising awareness of voter suppression and voting rights.