The Christian Science Monitor

Florida voters gave ex-felons right to vote. Then lawmakers stepped in.

Coral Nichols estimates she will have to live to 188 to be able to vote again in her home state of Florida.

For the devoted “duty, honor, country” Republican, that is heartbreak after hope.

Having completed her prison sentence for grand theft, Ms. Nichols believed she would have her right to vote restored after 64 percent of Floridians voted in favor of Amendment 4 last November. The amendment ordered automatic vote restoration for some 1.4 million Floridians who can’t vote because of past felonies.

But this week, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is signing into law a bill that formalizes that amendment but adds a controversial definition: tying the full payment of fees, fines, and restitution to the phrase “sentence served.”

It is not by definition a poll tax, as critics have termed it. But it is also, Ms. Nichols argues, not fair. Yes, she owes $190,000 in restitution, but she says her judge made clear that she has no criminal sentence obligations left after he converted her debt

‘Win at the margins’Former felons at the polls‘A whole brand-new start’

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