• Brian L. Barefield

Lebron James More Than A Vote Group Donates $100,000 To Help Felons Vote In Florida.

NBA megastar LeBron James has always been a person who is more about action than he is words. His fervor in social equality for African Americans can’t be matched by too many individuals. James’ group More Than A Vote plans to donate $100,000 to help register Florida voters who have felony records. He will pay off their debts and fees owed to the courts.

The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition will be the recipients of the donation. More Than A Vote is made up of a group black entertainers and athletes formed to help fight voter suppression in low income districts. A problem that has affected most African Americans by irregularities in the past such as voting machines not working, identification and polling station issues. James started the group back in June after watching long waits at polling stations in Atlanta, Georgia.

Florida’s lifetime voting ban on anyone with a felony conviction was lifted in 2018. That ruling helped over 1.4 million felons in the state gain their voting rights back. To combat that ruling the Republican-led state Legislatures passed a law that requires those with felony convictions to pay all outstanding court fees before they could register to vote.

In her dissent after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ruling, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the Supreme Court’s order “prevents thousands of otherwise eligible voters from participating in Florida’s primary election simply because they are poor. And it allows the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to disrupt Florida’s election process just days before the July 20 voter-registration deadline for the August primary, even though a preliminary injunction had been in place for nearly a year and a federal district court had found the State’s pay-to-vote scheme unconstitutional after an 8-day trial.”

Udonis Haslem, a player on the Miami Heat and lifelong Floridian, echoed the sentiments of Justice Sotomayor.

“Your right to vote shouldn’t depend upon whether or not you can pay to exercise it,” Haslem said.

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