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Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: oe Raedle/Getty Images

A federal judge on Sunday ruled that a Florida law requiring convicted felons to pay all court fines and fees before registering to vote is unconstitutional.

Why it matters: The ruling, which will likely be appealed by state Republicans, would clear the way for hundreds of thousands of ex-felons in Florida to register to vote ahead of November's election.

The big picture: Floridians approved a constitutional amendment in the 2018 midterm elections that would automatically restore voting rights to ex-felons who have completed “all terms of their sentence including probation and parole," except for those convicted of murder or sex crimes.

  • Soon after the ballot vote, Republican lawmakers in Florida passed a bill that defines "all terms" to include all fines, fees and restitution connected to a conviction, arguing it was necessary to clarify the amendment.
  • A class action lawsuit quickly followed as activists argued that the law made it virtually impossible for ex-felons to vote due to financial reasons or because the state offered them no way to know what needed to be paid, per the Washington Post.

What they're saying: U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle likened the law to the poll tax banned by the 24th Amendment to the Constitution, and ordered Florida to tell felons whether they are eligible to vote and what they owe.

Read the ruling.

Go deeper

Aug 24, 2020 - Health

Florida judge strikes down order to reopen schools for in-person classes

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at Florida State University on Aug. 11. Photo: Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

A Florida judge on Monday struck down an emergency order from the Florida Department of Education that would have required all schools to reopen for in-person learning this month, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Why it matters: Leon County Judge Charles Dodson ruled that Florida had "essentially ignored the requirement of school safety" in pushing to reopen schools and that the state's order overrode school boards' constitutional authority to make decisions for their school systems, per the Times.

31 mins ago - Health

Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific COVID vaccine

A health worker in Palestine preparing a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine on Jan. 24. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech announced Tuesday that they have started clinical trials for a reformulated vaccine to protect against the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Why it matters: The rise of the Omicron variant has forced vaccine makers to reassess the effectiveness of their vaccines.

Retail stock traders power stunning comeback after deep selloff

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Stocks staged a Patrick Mahomes-esque comeback Monday, after plunging for the first few hours of trading.

Why it matters: The remarkable recovery suggests that retail traders who upended markets over the last year — most notably during the GameStop bonanza that occurred almost exactly a year ago — continue to be powerful influence in the markets.