Feb 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy

WSJ: Millions of Florida voters are unsure if they qualify to cast ballots

In this image, a person in a courtroom raises their hands

A 60-year-old man's voting rights are restored in a Miami-Dade County courtroom in Nov. 2019. Photo: Zak Bennett/AFP via Getty Images

Florida has given little guidance to election officials after the state restored voting rights to an estimated 1.4 million former felons last year, resulting in "widespread confusion," the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: Floridians have until Feb. 18 to register to vote for the presidential primary in the critical swing state. Felons in the state are required to pay outstanding court fees and fines before casting ballots, per a bill that went into effect last year.

What's happening: Florida "has no centralized source that people can consult to determine whether they owe fees, fines or restitution," the WSJ reports, and many Floridians with felony records "fear running afoul of the law by registering to vote."

What they're saying: “It is a confusing, Byzantine morass,” Myrna Pérez, director of the Voting Rights and Elections Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, told WSJ.

  • “We’re going to continue to do everything we can within our purview to get it right,” Rep. James Grant (R-Fla.) told WSJ.

Go deeper: The sticky web of felon voting laws

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