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Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP via Getty Images

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has raised over $16 million to help felons pay outstanding fines and fees to regain their voting rights in Florida.

The big picture: A 2018 state constitutional amendment in Florida allows for felons who have completed their sentences to regain their right to vote — so long as they've also paid back any outstanding fines, fees or restitution.

  • Bloomberg's fundraising, in addition to $5 million from the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, has now paid off monetary obligations for 32,000 felons in Florida just before Election Day.
  • Voters who were already registered to vote, Black or Latino, and had fines and fees of less than $1500 were eligible for the payback initiative.

What they're saying: "The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and no American should be denied that right," Bloomberg said via a spokesperson.

  • "Working together with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, we are determined to end disenfranchisement and the discrimination that has always driven it."

Go deeper

Voter suppression then and now

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Barry Lewis/Getty Images 

From its start, the United States gave citizens the right to vote — as long as they were white men who owned property. From counting a slave as 3/5 of a white man to the creation of the Electoral College, there's a through-line of barriers that extends to today based on racial politics.

Why it matters: 150 years after the 15th Amendment — and 55 years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act — people of color still face systemic obstacles to voting.

Axios-Ipsos poll: Voters of color worry about militias, arrests

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±2.6% margin of error; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Fears that armed militias, police or COVID-19 await them at the polls are disproportionately shaping how Americans of color think about in-person voting, according to an Ipsos poll for Axios.

Why it matters: Participation by voters of color could decide whether President Trump or Joe Biden wins, and whether Democrats take control of both chambers of Congress.

5 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.