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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that Florida can order ex-felons to pay court fines and fees before they can register to vote.

Why it matters: The decision comes less than eight weeks before the November elections, potentially jeopardizing voter registration for hundreds of thousands of Floridians.

  • Critics of the law argue that such a requirement would amount to a poll tax and discriminate against felons who cannot afford to pay.

What they're saying: "Court costs and fees are legitimate parts of a criminal sentence—that is, part of the debt to society that felons must pay for their crimes—there is no basis to regard them as a tax," the 200-page decision reads.

  • "To be sure, one purpose of fees and costs is to raise revenue, but that does not transform them from criminal punishment into a tax. Every financial penalty raises revenue for the government, sometimes considerable revenue."
  • "The Due Process Clause does not require States to provide individual process to help citizens learn the facts necessary to comply with laws of general application."

The big picture: The 11th Circuit agreed to hear the case on an expedited basis after U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle in May sided with the challengers and ruled that the expenses imposed on ex-felons were unconstitutional.

Go deeper

Trump campaign loses yet another legal challenge in Pennsylvania

The president's lawyer Rudy Giuliani (center) has led legal efforts to cast doubt on election results, but few have succeeded. Photo: BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty

Philadelphia did not violate the law by restricting poll observers' proximity to ballots, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in a blow to the Trump campaign Tuesday.

Why it matters: This development comes after President Trump's defeat in a string of court battles, which his campaign wielded in several states in attempts to discredit President-elect Biden's election victory.

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.