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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.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries — Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca vaccine.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

DOJ: Capitol rioter threatened to "assassinate" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Supporters of former President Trump storm the U.S. Captiol on Jan. 6. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A Texas man who has been charged with storming the U.S. Capitol in the deadly Jan. 6 siege posted death threats against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the Department of Justice said.

The big picture: Garret Miller faces five charges in connection to the riot by supporters of former President Trump, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and making threats. According to court documents, Miller posted violent threats online the day of the siege, including tweeting “Assassinate AOC.”