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LeBron James in March. Photo: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

More Than A Vote, an organization launched by Lakers forward LeBron James and other Black athletes and entertainers, announced on Friday it will donate $100,000 to help pay the court debts and fees of ex-felons in Florida so they can register to vote in November's election, Politico reports.

Why it matters: After Florida voters approved a measure in 2o18 that restored felons' voting rights after they completed their sentences, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a law requiring convicted felons to pay outstanding fines and penalties to get their voting rights back.

  • James' group will donate the money to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, which advocated for the 2018 measure that lifted the state's lifetime felony voting ban.

What they're saying: “Your right to vote shouldn’t depend upon whether or not you can pay to exercise it,” Miami Heat forward and More than a Vote member Udonis Haslem said, per Politico.

The big picture: The Supreme Court recently declined to block Florida's rules that prevent some convicted felons from voting.

  • That ruling may have prevented convicted felons from registering before the state's primaries next month, and put some 85,000 people who had already registered in limbo.
  • Joe Biden is currently beating President Trump by 13 points in Florida — 51% to 38% — per a Quinnipiac University poll released this week. Florida, with its 29 electoral votes, is a key state in the president's re-election bid.

Go deeper

Texas early voting surpasses 2016's total turnout

Early voting in Austin earlier this month. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Texas' early and mail-in voting totals for the 2020 election have surpassed the state's total voter turnout in 2016, with 9,009,850 ballots already cast compared to 8,969,226 in the last presidential cycle.

Why it matters: The state's 38 Electoral College votes are in play — and could deliver a knockout blow for Joe Biden over President Trump — despite the fact that it hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1976.

37 mins ago - World

Taiwan leader confirms U.S. troops on island training forces

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei earlier this month. Photo: I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen told CNN Thursday that a small number of American troops are on the island for training purposes and she has "faith" the U.S. would defend the democracy against a Chinese military attack.

Why it matters: This is the first time a Taiwanese leader has publicly acknowledged the presence of U.S. troops on the self-governing island since the last U.S. garrison left in 1979, when Washington switched formal diplomatic recognition to Beijing.

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

NYC firefighters union urges members to defy mayor's vaccine mandate

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The president of New York City's firefighters union told reporters Wednesday that he's advised unvaccinated members to ignore Mayor Bill de Blasio's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Under de Blasio's order that's due to take effect Friday, unvaccinated city employees would be placed on unpaid leave. But Uniformed Firefighters Association head Andrew Ansbro said he told members that "if they choose to remain unvaccinated, they must still report for duty," according to Reuters.