DeSantis Sued by Voting Rights Group – A lawsuit was brought forth by a voting rights organization in Florida against Governor Ron DeSantis, his administration, and numerous Florida election officials. The organization alleges that they engaged in discriminatory practices against felons eligible to vote and fostered an atmosphere of intimidation.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court on Wednesday, asserts that the DeSantis administration intentionally failed to meet the provisions of the 2018 Amendment 4 to the state constitution. This amendment was designed to reinstate voting rights for certain convicted felons in Florida. “Florida has failed to realize the promise of Amendment 4.”
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“Since the Amendment was passed in 2018, the Defendants have created and perpetuated a bureaucratic morass that prevents people with prior felony convictions from voting or even determining whether they are eligible to vote,” the suit reads. “This is not simply the result of administrative failures or bureaucratic ineptitude. Rather, the record reveals a years’ long campaign of acts and omissions by the Defendants that have thwarted the aspirations of the citizens of Florida who enacted Amendment 4, and the aspirations of those whose rights it restored,” it continues.
The suit also claims that Florida’s “election police” unit, formed in 2022 to investigate illegal voting and other electoral crimes, has discriminatorily targeted those impacted by Amendment 4. “This effort, coupled with the earlier-created roadblocks to registration, has turned the simple act of voting into a complicated and risky venture in the eyes of those who were re-enfranchised by Amendment 4, as well as others who have been affected by the Defendants’ conduct,” the suit says.
The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, a leading advocate for the approval of Amendment 4, has filed a lawsuit together with four individuals who claim to have been adversely affected by the actions of the DeSantis administration. The group has criticized the bureaucratic process necessary for reenfranchisement, labeling it as “embarrassing.”
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Rhoshanda Bryant-Jones, one of the four additional plaintiffs, decided not to vote in 2022. She stated that she witnessed the election police unit arrest several felons who had voted in the 2020 election, as they believed they were acting within the bounds of the law. Although Bryant-Jones had her voting rights restored in 2020 and participated in that election, she expressed feeling intimidated by the actions of the DeSantis administration.