Broward Hearings Planned on Felons’ Voting Rights

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Florida Advisory Committee is set to hold a series of public hearings on the issues of voter suppression and disenfranchisement in Broward County, beginning on July 23.

An advisory issued Friday by Nadine Smith, chair of the panel, reads that the committee “will review the implementation of the 2018 constitutional measure to end the automatic disenfranchisement of most felons in the state and the impediments to voting or the rejection of ballot issues throughout Florida.”

Voting rights and civil rights groups, in addition to more than a dozen Floridians with felonies, are challenging the implementation of the amendment, which was signed into law by the Republican-controlled legislature. Under the measure, Floridians who have been convicted of felonies are required to pay financial obligations related to their crimes before they can have their voting rights restored.

Those challenging the legislation argue that it unconstitutionally “creates two classes of citizens,” depending on their ability to pay financial obligations that they may or may not know even exist. The meeting will be held at the Broward County Main Library in Fort Lauderdale.