Bloomberg puts money where his mouth is
The Editorial Board recently urged Michael Bloomberg to “write a big old check” to help ex-felons in Florida vote in the presidential election. The editorial was picked up by several national outlets.
Then Bloomberg announced that he has raised almost $20 million for the cause. Bravo!
After decades of being denied the right to vote, most former prisoners in the state still are being denied access to the ballot box, even though, in 2018, a solid majority of voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing them to cast ballots. Gov. Ron Desantis and the Republican Legislature erected what they knew would be a roadblock: an added provision that ex-felons have to pay all court fees and fines before having their right to vote restored. It was a caveat that voters never intended.
Bloomberg is fulfilling his promise to do anything in his money’s power to pull Florida into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s camp in November. He already had pledged to spend $100 million in Florida alone for Biden ads.
Bloomberg announced his team has raised at least $16 million to pay the court fines and fees of nearly 32,000 of the 776,000 voters with felony convictions, many of them Black and Hispanic.
The onus now is on Bloomberg’s coalition to quickly reach out to those disenfranchised voters in Florida, settle up their fines and fees, and get them registered to vote before the Oct. 5 deadline.