LeBron James’ new nonprofit commits to pay fines for former felons looking to vote in Florida

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

More Than A Vote, an advocacy group co-founded by LeBron James in the wake of George Floyd‘s murder, is entering the battle for ex-felons’ voting rights in Florida.

According to Politico, the organization has donated $100,000 to pay off fines and fees accrued by the state’s formerly incarcerated in order to reinstate their voter eligibility. The money is being sent to Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, who fought to successfully alter the state’s constitution, passing an amendment that overturned a lifetime voting ban for ex-felons in 2018. The following year, the state’s Republican-led legislature hit back with a law that required ex-felons to pay any and all outstanding court fees and fines in order to secure their right to the ballot. Then, in late May of this year, a U.S. District Court judge ruled the Florida law was unconstitutional as it essentially amounted to a poll tax (illegal,) but the state’s governor, Ron DeSantis, challenged the court’s ruling, appealing to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is set to hear the case on August 18th (the day of Florida’s presidential primary.)

Miami Heat forward and More Than A Vote Member, Udonis Haslem, outlined the organization’s mission in Florida and across the country. In a statement, Haslem said, “We believe that your right to vote shouldn’t depend upon whether or not you can pay to exercise it.” The donation marks More Than A Vote’s first state-level campaign. The organization is also partnering with Magnolia Pictures and Participant to host an online screening of the new John Lewis documentary, Good Trouble. All proceeds from the screening will be donated to the FRRC’s fees and fines fund, which has already raised more than $1.5 million for former felons across the state.

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