Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to block Florida's rules that prevent some convicted felons from voting — a temporary win that will leave the state's restrictions in place into the fall, if not longer.

Why it matters: This legal dispute will ultimately determine whether hundreds of thousands of Floridians are eligible to vote — enough to swing an election.

The background: Florida voters approved a measure in 2o18 to restore felons' voting rights after they've completed their sentences. But Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) then signed a law that said felons would only get their voting rights back after they've not only served out their prison terms, but also paid any outstanding fines and penalties.

  • A judge ruled DeSantis' restrictions unconstitutional, but a federal appeals court has allowed them to take effect while the legal dispute over their merits continues.
  • Voting rights advocates asked the Supreme Court to intervene and put the state's payment requirements on ice while the case works its way through the courts. The court declined that request today.

The other side: Three of the liberal justices dissented, saying the court should have temporarily frozen DeSantis' restrictions.

  • "This Court’s inaction continues a trend of condoning disfranchisement," Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote.

What's next: Felons who haven't paid off their fines and penalties will not be able to register to vote in time for the state's primaries next month. Whether they'll be able to vote in November is up to the appeals court.

  • In addition to preventing new voters from registering, these rulings are also leaving in limbo some 85,000 people who have already registered, per the AP.

Read the dissenting opinion via DocumentCloud.

Go deeper

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.

Appeals court: Uber, Lyft have to make California drivers employees

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

A California appeals court Thursday said Uber and Lyft have to reclassify their drivers in the state as employees, affirming a lower court's ruling.

Why it matters: The companies are fighting a new state law, at the center of this lawsuit, that imposes stricter requirements in order to classify workers as independent contractors.

2 hours ago - Podcasts

Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes on the Senate runoffs

The future of U.S. politics, and all that flows from it, is in the hands of Georgia voters when they vote in two Senate runoffs on January 5.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the election dynamics with former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat who served between 1999 and 2003.