(Washington) The United States Supreme Court on Thursday authorized Florida to keep a law forcing former detainees to pay their court fees before regaining their voting rights.
France Media Agency
Less than four months before the US presidential election on November 3, this decision could affect hundreds of thousands of people in a key state where the elections are often particularly tight.
A local judge had rejected this law in May, considering that it established a system of “paying vote”, but a court of appeal had in a second time quashed this judgment and the American Supreme Court finally decided to leave things as they are.
Three progressive judges of the Temple of American Law have expressed themselves differently, including Sonia Sotomayor, who regretted a decision which she said prevented thousands of voters from going to the polls “simply because they are poor”.
She also pointed out that it was difficult for many former detainees in this southeastern state of the country to know the amount of legal costs they had to pay.
In a local referendum in November 2018, the inhabitants of Florida had enabled more than a million of them to recover their right to vote, with the exception of ex-prisoners convicted of homicide or sexual crimes.
But the elected representatives of the State, in the hands of the Republicans, then adopted a law requiring former prisoners to settle all their debts before the justice system before being able to vote, which many do not can not afford, often amounting to several thousand dollars or more.
“The right to vote is a pillar of democracy,” local Democrat Donna Shalala said Thursday after the Supreme Court ruling. “Poverty should never be an obstacle to this fundamental right”.