Shameless voting activists were dealt a major setback in court on Friday. In a 6-4 decision, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Florida law that requires felons to complete the terms of their sentences before becoming eligible to vote.
The court's ruling upholds a lower court's decision allowing the state of Florida to strip the voting eligibility of up to 1 million felons who have not finished their criminal sentences, paid outstanding fees, fines, and restitution to their victims. In July, the Supreme Court declined to review the lower court ruling while the 11th Circuit considered the matter.
"Florida has long followed the common practice of excluding those who commit serious crimes from voting," reads the court's opinion filed on Friday. "But in 2018, the people of Florida approved a historic amendment to their state constitution to restore the voting rights of thousands of convicted felons. They imposed only one condition: before regaining the right to vote, felons must complete all the terms of their criminal sentences, including imprisonment, probation, and payment of any fines, fees, costs, and restitution."
To sell the measure, the law excluded felons convicted of murder and sex crimes. But as soon as the law was passed, activists went to work to remove the requirement that felons finish out their criminal sentences before casting ballots. Such a requirement, the plaintiffs argued, violated the Equal Protection Clause since many felons cannot afford to pay the costs imposed upon them by their sentences. Newsflash for felons: Crime doesn't pay.
The lawyers also argued that the requirement to complete all terms of their sentences constituted a poll tax, prohibited by the 24th Amendment. The court wasn't buying it.
Jason Snead, Executive Director of Honest Elections Project, which submitted an amicus brief in the case, celebrated the court's decision upholding the state's "commonsense" law.
“When someone commits a crime, they owe a debt to society. Today, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a commonsense Florida law requiring felons to pay their debt in full before registering to vote. Florida voters are within their rights to give convicted felons the opportunity to earn back their vote, but they are equally within their rights to expect that all the conditions of a criminal sentence—including restitution to their victims—be completed first."
The ruling is a huge disappointment for so-called voting activists and Democrats who were counting on the ex-con vote to help in the November election. Democrats like Bernie Sanders believe all prisoners, even the Boston Marathon terrorist, is owed the right to vote. Democrats know people who hate America and disrespect its laws are natural Democrats -- just look at the violent left-wing protests all over the country.
Florida's deadline for voter registration is Oct. 5 and early voting begins two weeks later.