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

19 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Florida voting activist: Restoring felon rights "has caught on like a wildfire"

Desmond Meade, executive director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, said at an Axios virtual event on Tuesday that Florida's ballot initiative restoring voting rights to 1.4 million has inspired a movement across the country, even in Republican-led states like Iowa.

The big picture: Meade, a former felon who rebuilt his life and graduated from law school after a drug-related conviction, helped lead the fight to pass Amendment 4 in Florida in 2018 — the largest single expansion of voting rights in the U.S. in half a century.

Updated 21 hours ago - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on America's voting barriers

Axios hosted a virtual event taking a look at barriers to voting across the country, featuring Southwest Voter Registration Education Project President Lydia Camarillo, U.S. Election Assistance Commission Chairman Benjamin Hovland, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition President Desmond Meade and "The West Wing" actors Janel Moloney and Richard Schiff.

We unpacked voting restrictions and disenfranchisement that factor into the 2020 elections as well as our nation's historic barriers to people based on race as part of our Hard Truths series.

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.