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Florida moves to remove felons with unpaid debts from voting rolls

October 16, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Election officials in Florida are taking steps to remove ex-felons from the voter rolls if they still owe court debts, according to an email sent this week to county elections officials obtained by CNN.

(CNN)Election officials in Florida are taking steps to remove ex-felons from the voter rolls if they still owe court debts, according to an email sent this week to county elections officials obtained by CNN.

The state's elections director, Maria Matthews, told local elections supervisors on Tuesday that they would begin to receive files on convicted felons "whose potential ineligibility is based on not having satisfied the legal financial obligations of their sentence. " The email added that if local officials received information about registered voters who are ineligible from sources other than the Florida Department of State, "you should act on it. "

Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley said Friday that he "wasn't really surprised that they're starting up the process of felon review," but that the lengthy removal process would prevent his office from taking anyone off the rolls by Election Day.

Though he didn't think many Florida voters would actually be removed before Election Day, Earley said it's possible that if felons with court debts end up voting, their ballots could be challenged after the election.

Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee, a Republican appointee, said in a statement that the federal appeals court ruling makes it clear that "the law, with respect to legal financial obligations, is now clear, and there is no legal basis for the department to ignore the obligations spelled out in Florida Statutes. "

Lee said her department is legally required to review information from a number of sources related to felons whose voting rights have not been restored, and if that information is credible and reliable, that is shared with local supervisors.

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