LeBron James and his More Than A Vote organization has hit the ground running.
Politico is reporting that the organization started by James, other athletes, and celebrities in the wake of George Floyd’s death is now working to ensure ex-felons will be able to register to vote. It will be donating $100,000 to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and will go towards their outstanding court debts.
Back in 2018, the state of Florida voted in favor of restoring the voting rights of ex-felons during the midterm elections, an amendment pushed by the coalition. The Republican-led state legislature with Trump wannabe and current “Governor” Ron DeSantis passed a law earlier this year, making it harder for ex-felons to vote. That law, which is currently being challenged in court, dictates that ex-felons must pay their outstanding court fees and debts if they want to be able to exercise their constitutional right.
A U.S. District Court judge back in May didn’t hold back when calling the Florida law “an illegal pay-to-vote system and wrote:
“Requiring people with felony convictions to pay fees — which are separate from restitution paid to victims — in order to vote violated the U.S. Constitution’s ban on poll taxes.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis, or DeathSantis, which he is being referred to now because of his poor handling of the COVID-19 crisis in his state, appealed the judge’s decision, which stalled the ruling from going into effect. The appeals court is expected to hear the case on Aug. 18, which happens to be the same day as Florida’s state primary.
More Than A Vote member and long-time Miami Heat player Udonis Haslem spoke on the matter stating:
“Your right to vote shouldn’t depend upon whether or not you can pay to exercise it.
In a tweet, Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar LeBron James who continues to be very active on and off the court added:
“This is a fight about their constitutional right to vote being denied.”
Along with Friday’s (Jul.24) announcement, More Than A Vote will also be partnering with Magnolia Pictures and Participant to host a screening of a documentary of the late Civil Rights icon and long-time congressman, Rep.John Lewis. The event will be promoted by athletes and celebrities with the proceeds going to the coalition’s fines-and-fees fund.
The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition has already raised over $1.5 million for its fees-and-fines fund but with this clutch assist from James and the More Than A Vote organization, we expect that amount to go up exponentially. This upcoming presidential election is a critical one, with lives literally on the line. A recent study estimated that as many as 775,000 people in Florida convicted of felonies are being hampered down with court fees and debts, making them ineligible to vote under the ridiculous Florida law.
In a battleground state like Florida, where every vote counts, those 775,000 people could make a huge difference.
Photo: Ezra Shaw / Getty