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.

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Updated Oct 20, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on America's voting barriers

On Tuesday, October 23, Axios' Sara Kehaulani Goo, Margaret Talev, and Alexi McCammond hosted a virtual event on barriers to voting access 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.

Benjamin Hovland unpacked how to vote safely during this unprecedented year and highlighted the uptick in mail-in ballots and early voting.

  • On a notable increase in early ballots being cast: "We're seeing a surge in early in-person voting...We're already at around 30 million Americans that have already voted in the 2020 election, which is pretty remarkable."
  • On the impact of the pandemic on mail-in ballots: "About 25% of Americans vote by mail in a normal year, or in 2016. So we're going to see an increase probably closer to half."

Lydia Camarillo discussed the importance of the Latino electorate in American elections.

  • The impact on November's election: "I think that the Latino electorate can be the deciding factor in this election — in partnership with other groups like the Black community, the Muslim community, Asian American community and progressives. They will decide the election."

Desmond Meade, who helped lead the 2018 fight for Amendment 4 in Florida, unpacked the expansion of voting rights and Florida's impact on similar state-level policy changes across the country.

  • On restoring felon rights: "This thing has caught on like a wildfire. All across this country, people are really standing up. Because America is a nation of second chances. And it's showing up right now in a major way."

Janel Moloney and Richard Schiff discussed the recent "The West Wing" episode on HBO Max and the experience of reuniting as an ensemble cast.

  • Richard Schiff on the meaning of the episode: "It's a rare thing in this day and age around the world to have the privilege to vote and the right to vote. And we should be very careful to not let it be extinguished and that this episode addresses that."

Axios Vice President of Event Kristin Burkhalter hosted a View from the Top segment with Lyft Head of Policy Engagement and Strategic Partnerships Heather Foster who discussed how transportation plays a critical role in voting access.

  • "We took a look at the statistics that came out of 2016, and it was estimated at the time that more than 15 million eligible voters did not go to the polls because they lacked a way to get there."

This event was the first in a yearlong series called Hard Truths, where we'll be discussing the wide ranging impact of systemic racism in America. Read our deep dive on race and voting here.

Thank you Lyft for sponsoring this event.

Oct 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Harris to Black voters: Casting a ballot is about honoring your ancestors

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris speaks at a "Get Out The Vote" rally at Morehouse College. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris appealed to Black voters in Georgia on Friday, urging them to "honor the ancestors" by casting ballots, and again calling President Trump a "racist."

Why it matters: The U.S. saw a significant decline in African-American voter turnout between 2012 and 2016, reaching its lowest point since 2000. Higher turnout among Black Americans this year could tip the balance in favor of Democrats in key battleground states, including Georgia.

Supreme Court rejects request to extend Wisconsin absentee ballot deadline

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected in a 5-3 decision Monday Wisconsin Democrats' request to reinstate an extension of the deadline for counting absentee ballots to six days after Election Day, as long as they're postmarked by Nov. 3.

Why it matters: All ballots must now be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day in Wisconsin, a critical swing state in the presidential election.