Feb 1, 2018

Judge rules Florida system for restoring felon voting rights unconstitutional

Florida Governor Rick Scott. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday ruled that the process by which Florida grants or denies former felons the right to vote after completing their sentence violates the U.S. Constitution.

Why it matters: Florida is one of four states to constitutionally prohibit ex-felons from voting, giving only the governor the power to restore their voting rights. The policy affects an estimated 1.5 million convicted felons in a state that bans more people from voting than any other.

What this means: U.S. District Court Judge Mark E. Walker did not immediately restore voting rights to ex-felons. Walker ordered further briefing from both parties on the appropriate remedy. His ruling came without a trial.

  • In his 43-page ruling, Walker took aim at the restoration process he said unfairly relies on the personal support of Gov. Rick Scott. Former felons have to apply for their voting rights to considered. This comes with a waiting period of 5 to 8 years.

The backdrop: This comes more than a week after the state approved a referendum allowing Florida voters to decide in November whether to restore voting rights to some convicted felons. If passed with at least 60% approval, it has the potential to shift the makeup of the country’s largest swing state.

Go deeper: Read the court ruling here; The decades-long fight for Florida's ex-felons to regain voting rights

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll tops 10,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 10,000 in the U.S. on Monday, per Johns Hopkins data. More than 1,000 people in the U.S. have died of coronavirus-related conditions each day since April 1.

Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday this week will be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 14 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 1,341,907 — Total deaths: 74,476 — Total recoveries: 275,851Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 364,723— Total deaths: 10,781 — Total recoveries: 19,346Map.
  3. 2020 update: Wisconsin governor orders in-person primary voting delayed until June.
  4. States latest: West Coast states send ventilators to New York and other states with more immediate need — Data suggest coronavirus curve may be flattening in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
  5. World update: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved to intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen.
  6. Stocks latest: The S&P 500 closed up 7% on Monday, while the Dow rose more than 1,500 points.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Wells Fargo's small busines surprise

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wells Fargo surprised small business owners late Sunday when it said that it had run out of money to lend to small businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the federal stopgap for COVID-19 relief.

  • But an announcement by the Federal Reserve today might quell concerns for the customers who will be hard-pressed to apply for cash elsewhere.

Why it matters: Because of restrictions placed on Wells Fargo after its fake accounts scandal, one of the nation's biggest lenders says it's had to turn away struggling small business customers.