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American Civil Liberties Union

The ACLU, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, was founded to ensure the promise of the Bill of Rights and to expand its reach to people historically denied its protections. For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation's guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country. The ACLU is now a nationwide organization with a 50-state network of staffed affiliate offices filing cases in both state and federal courts. We appear before the Supreme Court more than any other organization except the Department of Justice.
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Lance Wissinger (left) and Neil Volz shake hands after turning in their voter registration forms in Fort Myers, Fla., in January. Both have felony records but had their voting rights restored under an amendment passed in November 2018.

Advocates challenge Florida law placing restrictions on felons' voting rights

What had been hailed as a major victory for those who favor restoring voting rights for convicted felons has now become a legal battle over exactly how that process should work.

On Friday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill that requires those seeking to recover their voting rights to first pay all fines and fees that they owe. In swift order, voting and civil rights groups then filed legal action seeking to block the requirement.

Last fall, voters in Florida passed by a wide margin a state constitutional amendment that restored voting rights to Floridians "after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation."

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Texas Halts Review of Voter Rolls in Lawsuit Settlement

Texas will pay $450,000 in costs and legal fees as part of a settlement reached with civil rights groups, which sued the state following its botched review of the citizenship status of those on its voter rolls.

In January, the state released a list of nearly 100,000 registered voters that the secretary of state's office considered to be potential noncitizens, of which 58,000 were said to have voted illegally in one or more elections. The review was part of an attempt to purge those registered voters from its rolls.

Election officials later backtracked on the data, admitting at least 20,000 people flagged as noncitizens were naturalized citizens. As part of the settlement, state election officials agreed to end their search of noncitizen registered voters and the planned purge of its voter rolls.

"After months of litigation, the state has finally agreed to do what we've demanded from the start — a complete withdrawal of the flawed and discriminatory voter purge list, bringing this failed experiment in voter suppression to an end," Andre Segura, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, said in a statement. "The right to vote is sacrosanct, and no eligible voter should have to worry about losing that right."

Floridians voted to enfranchise felons, but GOP plans new restrictions

Florida legislators are moving to minimize the impact of last fall's decision by the voters to restore voting rights to felons in the nation's third largest state.

The Republicans who dominate the state House began advancing legislation Tuesday that would require felons to pay all outstanding court fees and fines before they may go to the polls.

Critics say the move could block more than 80 percent of the 1.4 million Floridians who were supposed to be eligible to register starting this year.

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Ohio’s reliably Republican House map goes on trial

A trial has started in a federal lawsuit alleging Ohio's congressional map is such a partisan gerrymander that it unconstitutionally violates voters' rights to elect people who share their views.

A win by the plaintiffs – led by several Democratic organizations and the League of Women Voters of Ohio – could mean reconfiguring of the bellwether state's districts in time for the 2020 election, presumably giving Democrats a shot at winning more than the four seats (out of 16) they've been limited to for the entire decade.

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