Bloomberg Pays Fines for 32,000 Felons in Move to Bypass GOP Voter Suppression Obstacles

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In Democrats latest move to remove GOP voter suppression obstacles, Bloomberg has paid fines for 32,000 Felons so they too can vote.


Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has reportedly raised more than $16 million in an effort to help convicted felons in Florida register to vote.

The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition estimated Bloomberg's fundraising push has already paid off monetary obligations for 32,000 felons, Axios reported.



Democrats, however, are still struggling to keep up with the GOP's constant barrage of voter suppression initiatives meant to keep people from voting for example:

Republicans devote $20m and 50,000 people to efforts to restrict voting

Donald Trump’s campaign and national Republicans are pumping millions of dollars into efforts to restrict voting and aggressively fight Democratic efforts to make it easier to cast a ballot during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Republican National Committee has allocated $20m so far to oppose Democratic lawsuits across the country seeking to expand voting. Republicans are also seeking to recruit up to 50,000 people in 15 key states to serve as poll watchers and challenge the registration of voters they believe are ineligible, according to the New York Times.




ARKANSAS VOTER REGISTRATION: “To qualify to vote in the next election, you must apply to register to vote 30 days before the election. If you mail this form, it must be postmarked by that date.”

Postmarked by Sunday, October 4. Post offices aren’t open on Sunday.

It’s easy to imagine an Arkansas voter trying to post her registration on October 4, only to be met with locked doors and to go home thinking she’d missed the deadline. One less vote on Election Day.

But after 20 minutes of searching on the Arkansas elections website, I found a document stating that Arkansas has amended its guidelines and that voter registration applications will be accepted if they’re postmarked on Monday, October 5. This corrected information wasn’t on the front page of the Arkansas elections homepage. It doesn’t appear in bold lettering on the voter registration form. It’s buried in a PDF on a website that many voters don’t know exists.

Arkansas isn’t alone. I thought that it might take a few days to compile the various registration and request deadlines for all 50 states as part of our Vote Save America initiative. It took weeks, worth of calls to Secretary of State offices and research on state-specific election law to determine the exact dates and deadlines for every state.

“Voter suppression” is a term that we hear frequently in the news, often accompanied by footage of voters waiting in hours-long lines at polling places and reports of voter-registration purges. But voter suppression tactics aren’t always as crude as closing polling locations in underserved communities or racist gerrymandering. On top of those hurdles, many people can’t vote because they’re unable to take time off of work or, as in Arkansas, can’t find their state’s rules posted clearly anywhere.

The obstacles to voting in the United States are not only confusing and outdated; they are arrayed intentionally to disenfranchise voters across the country. And that will continue to be the case until federal, state, and local election officials implement overdue changes that make voting equally accessible to all Americans.


So if you are not voting, you are doing EXACTLY what the GOP's target audience for their anti voting propaganda wants you to do.

ALSO: In addition to the GOP trying to get you not to vote, they are also doing everything they can to get people to throw away their votes by voting for 3rd parties that have no chance of winning:
“How Republicans Are Trying to Use the Green Party to Their Advantage”
With Mr. Trump trailing Joseph R. Biden Jr. in most national and swing-state polls, Republicans are again trying to help third parties that may appeal to Democratic voters and siphon off votes from Mr. Biden. This is taking place alongside a broader pattern of disinformation and skepticism by the president and his allies that has sown confusion and undermined confidence in the election.

Republican efforts to aid the Green Party are not new. In 2016, a billionaire backer of President Trump, Bernie Marcus, the co-founder of Home Depot, provided support to Jill Stein, the Green candidate, according to people with knowledge of the strategy, who said the effort was done with the knowledge of some officials at the Trump campaign and its chairman at the time, Paul Manafort. (Mr. Manafort was subsequently convicted of eight counts in an unrelated financial fraud trial.)



So people who like to pretend they are somehow hurting the system by voting 3rd party or not voting are only working WITH your pro Trump corporate overlords to give them what they want!
 
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XsjadoBlayde

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Holy gribblefugs, something resembling a hint of positivity in this nihilistic nightmare, I'll take it! Along with all these drugs. Err, i mean news articles. Fair and balanced news articles about the posf office dismantling efforts that aid voter suppression.


(The fairest most balancest news source in comparison to the rest anyhow, I've lost track of whether this was meant to sound ironic. Oh well!)
 

Specter Von Baren

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Sooooo.... Not going to comment on how a billionaire raised this money instead of using his own? Or how "Democrats desperate for votes, spend millions of dollars to get criminals off the hook in bid for more." Is pretty bad optics?
 
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XsjadoBlayde

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Should be able to edit that. Odd.

EDIT: I just edited this post cause I somehow went and put my reply inside the quote by mistake.
Oh, i think there's a time limit for it or something, because other posts have allowed editing straight afterwards, just seemingly not if I've buggered off for a bit. Or could be to do with classism, with the different ranks people have here. Or both!
 

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Sooooo.... Not going to comment on how a billionaire raised this money instead of using his own? Or how "Democrats desperate for votes, spend millions of dollars to get criminals off the hook in bid for more." Is pretty bad optics?
It isn't getting them off the hook or letting Felons out of jail. Fines do nothing to wealthy people who commit crimes, and has zero impact on rehabilitation. It is just "criminalization of poverty". Republicans only moved to put this stipulation in as an attempt to suppress their vote. It is just one more thing they do to remove people's rights to vote. If they criminalize poverty, they do not have to worry about the poor voting them out, no matter how many people they make poor. Wealthy can commit worse crimes and not have it impact them in any meaningful way, but it can ruin the rest of someone's life if they are poor. The people voted to give them the right to vote. The GOP went in and undermined that by placing these obstacles preventing them from doing so. When the people of Florida voted to amend their state constitution, which is no easy feat mind you, and the GOP goes and then tries to go behind their backs and suppress the vote regardless, they are directly undermining the will of the people.

In 2018, nearly two-thirds of the Florida electorate voted to amend the state constitution and allow felons to vote. The amendment applied to felons who had completed their parole or probation periods, and it did not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses.

The GOP-controlled Legislature, however, sought to limit the effects of the amendment by passing a law that conditioned the right to vote on payment of all fees, fines and restitution that were part of the sentence in each felon's case. The state, however, had no central listing of this information, and the Legislature created no system to help felons ascertain how much, if anything, they owed. Even the state ultimately agreed that it would take six years to create such a system.

Two felons challenged the law in court and initially won in both the federal district court and the court of appeals. In a second phase of the litigation, Judge Robert Hinkle held an eight-day trial and found that the "overwhelming majority" of felons would be too poor to pay the amounts owed, if they could find out what they owed. Hinkle said that the pay-to-play law had created "an administrative nightmare" and that it also amounted to an unconstitutional tax on voting.

His decision converted what had been a preliminary injunction barring the law from going into effect, into a permanent injunction.

But earlier this month, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, without explanation and two months after the court of appeals decision, stopped Hinkle's order from going into effect. At the same time, the appeals court, which now includes six Trump appointees, set a hearing in the case for Aug. 18, the day of the state primary.



The Bad optics are on the GOP for trying to undermine the will of the people they supposedly represent by suppressing the vote that the people chose to go as far as amend their constitution to enact. They are directly in opposition to the people.
 
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Specter Von Baren

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It isn't getting them off the hook or letting Felons out of jail. Fines do nothing to wealthy people who commit crimes, and has zero impact on rehabilitation. It is just "criminalization of poverty". Republicans only moved to put this stipulation in as an attempt to suppress their vote. It is just one more thing they do to remove people's rights to vote. If they criminalize poverty, they do not have to worry about the poor voting them out, no matter how many people they make poor. Wealthy can commit worse crimes and not have it impact them in any meaningful way, but it can ruin the rest of someone's life if they are poor. The people voted to give them the right to vote. The GOP went in and undermined that by placing these obstacles preventing them from doing so. When the people of Florida voted to amend their state constitution, which is no easy feat mind you, and the GOP goes and then tries to go behind their backs and suppress the vote regardless, they are directly undermining the will of the people.

In 2018, nearly two-thirds of the Florida electorate voted to amend the state constitution and allow felons to vote. The amendment applied to felons who had completed their parole or probation periods, and it did not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses.

The GOP-controlled Legislature, however, sought to limit the effects of the amendment by passing a law that conditioned the right to vote on payment of all fees, fines and restitution that were part of the sentence in each felon's case. The state, however, had no central listing of this information, and the Legislature created no system to help felons ascertain how much, if anything, they owed. Even the state ultimately agreed that it would take six years to create such a system.

Two felons challenged the law in court and initially won in both the federal district court and the court of appeals. In a second phase of the litigation, Judge Robert Hinkle held an eight-day trial and found that the "overwhelming majority" of felons would be too poor to pay the amounts owed, if they could find out what they owed. Hinkle said that the pay-to-play law had created "an administrative nightmare" and that it also amounted to an unconstitutional tax on voting.

His decision converted what had been a preliminary injunction barring the law from going into effect, into a permanent injunction.

But earlier this month, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, without explanation and two months after the court of appeals decision, stopped Hinkle's order from going into effect. At the same time, the appeals court, which now includes six Trump appointees, set a hearing in the case for Aug. 18, the day of the state primary.


.
Fair enough.
 

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It would be a sad state of affairs if allowing people to vote becomes worse optics than preventing them from voting in a supposed democracy.
In this case it is even worse than their usual shenanigans, as the people went as far to amend their constitution to make sure felons could vote and then the GOP went behind their backs in an attempt to undermine it anyhow. Their actions are in direct opposition to the will of the people they supposedly represent. Getting their constitution amended is no easy task but they managed to do so and then the GOP STILL stab them in the back.
 
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dreng3

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Sooooo.... Not going to comment on how a billionaire raised this money instead of using his own? Or how "Democrats desperate for votes, spend millions of dollars to get criminals off the hook in bid for more." Is pretty bad optics?
Edit: Devils ninjaed me but you're still getting it.

He should've used some of his own money, sure.
But I wouldn't get so far as to use the expression "get criminals of the hook". Firstly it conjures a negative image and makes it seem illicit, while it is anything but. The raised money goes to paying of fines and restitutions required by the courts of Florida, it basically goes straight to the victims or the state, none of which I doubt give a damn about the actual source of the money as long as it isn't acquired through criminal activities.
Of course this means that the felons don't have to pay the money themselves, but not having that kind of debt over your head might actually help some of them get back on their feet more easily.

Lastly, there are felons in Florida that owe fines and/or restitution but doesn't know how much it is, because the courts doesn't know. And those felons cannot pay back and thus cannot vote. Let's comment on that injustice before we start commenting on a charitable act that undoubtedly has some selfish motives.
 

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Edit: Devils ninjaed me but you're still getting it.

He should've used some of his own money, sure.
But I wouldn't get so far as to use the expression "get criminals of the hook". Firstly it conjures a negative image and makes it seem illicit, while it is anything but. The raised money goes to paying of fines and restitutions required by the courts of Florida, it basically goes straight to the victims or the state, none of which I doubt give a damn about the actual source of the money as long as it isn't acquired through criminal activities.
Of course this means that the felons don't have to pay the money themselves, but not having that kind of debt over your head might actually help some of them get back on their feet more easily.

Lastly, there are felons in Florida that owe fines and/or restitution but doesn't know how much it is, because the courts doesn't know. And those felons cannot pay back and thus cannot vote. Let's comment on that injustice before we start commenting on a charitable act that undoubtedly has some selfish motives.
In addition, this does not apply to murderers or sex offenses, it is primarily drug offenses which are the overwhelming majority of felonies in the first place. They put these fines in place knowing the people are too poor to ever pay them off so they are able to suppress their vote forever.
 

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The raised money goes to paying of fines and restitutions required by the courts of Florida, it basically goes straight to the victims or the state,
Sounds to me like the state of Florida is winning here.
 

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Sounds to me like the state of Florida is winning here.
Only if your personal definition of "winning" is limited to "hoarding the most money."

Otherwise, our fellow citizens have won through not having their rights unjustly denied, our democracy has won through being more representative, and the voters of Florida have won by seeing their will enacted despite the petty obstructions of a certain party's politicians.
 

dreng3

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Sounds to me like the state of Florida is winning here.
Doing something that seems highly amoral to me. No reason not to let felons vote in the first place, they're still citizens. I was just presenting an alternative to the notion that Bloomberg was somehow screwing with the system by raising money to pay the fines and restitution. I think it is good that he is doing it, I think it is bad that it is necessary.

The logic of banning felons from voting seems shaky in the first place, the only real argument I can find in favour is that felons have acted in a way that is harmful to society and thus they are incapable of (or should be barred from) participating in the governance of the country through voting.
Which is a strange notion since a lot of felonies doesn't actually demonstrate a lack of fitness when it comes to democratic participation, at least I haven't seen any evidence of that.
 

Houseman

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I can see a certain logic in the argument that "You haven't paid for your crimes unless you've actually PAID FOR YOUR CRIMES", and that's what these fines are. Time served is only one part of the punishment.

Having someone else "serve your time for you" seems to not be within the spirit of the thing.
 

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I can see a certain logic in the argument that "You haven't paid for your crimes unless you've actually PAID FOR YOUR CRIMES", and that's what these fines are. Time served is only one part of the punishment.

Having someone else "serve your time for you" seems to not be within the spirit of the thing.
It is just a poor tax. The wealthy do worse and it doesn't even bother them. The vast majority of these ex felons are from the war on drugs. Fines like these remove equality under the law because they are impossible for the poor to pay and pocket change for the wealthy. Besides, this stipulation isn't what the people voted for. The GOP went in and undermined 2/3rds of their electorate by doing this after the people already voted to reinstate their rights. This was done "in spite of the people" rather than of the people and was done against their wishes as the courts initially ruled as such:

"In 2018, nearly two-thirds of the Florida electorate voted to amend the state constitution and allow felons to vote. The amendment applied to felons who had completed their parole or probation periods, and it did not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses.

The GOP-controlled Legislature, however, sought to limit the effects of the amendment by passing a law that conditioned the right to vote on payment of all fees, fines and restitution that were part of the sentence in each felon's case. The state, however, had no central listing of this information, and the Legislature created no system to help felons ascertain how much, if anything, they owed. Even the state ultimately agreed that it would take six years to create such a system.

Two felons challenged the law in court and initially won in both the federal district court and the court of appeals. In a second phase of the litigation, Judge Robert Hinkle held an eight-day trial and found that the "overwhelming majority" of felons would be too poor to pay the amounts owed, if they could find out what they owed. Hinkle said that the pay-to-play law had created "an administrative nightmare" and that it also amounted to an unconstitutional tax on voting.

His decision converted what had been a preliminary injunction barring the law from going into effect, into a permanent injunction.

But earlier this month, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, without explanation and two months after the court of appeals decision, stopped Hinkle's order from going into effect. At the same time, the appeals court, which now includes six Trump appointees, set a hearing in the case for Aug. 18, the day of the state primary."

 

lil devils x

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Yes, I read that the first time you posted it.
The " spirit" of the fines were to make sure they punished the poor forever. That is why they are bad to begin with.

Judge Robert Hinkle held an eight-day trial and found that the "overwhelming majority" of felons would be too poor to pay the amounts owed, if they could find out what they owed. Hinkle said that the pay-to-play law had created "an administrative nightmare" and that it also amounted to an unconstitutional tax on voting.

If you read it the first time, how could you think that is in any way acceptable?