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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.

J&J and Merck to partner for COVID vaccine production to boost supply

Empty vials that contained a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against the COVID-19. Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden will announce Tuesday that pharmaceutical giant Merck will help Johnson & Johnson manufacture its newly authorized coronavirus vaccine to boost supply, a senior administration official tells Axios.

The big picture: The development has the potential to vastly increase supply, possibly doubling what the J&J could make on its own, the official said. The company has run into challenges while trying to expand its vaccine production to a global scale.

Casinos throw cash at sports betting media

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Casinos are investing millions on sports betting content to lure bettors to their online and in-person sportsbooks.

Why it matters: It’s a mini gold rush for some sports media companies that were struggling in the pandemic.