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Michael Monfluery is one of the ex-felons in Florida who would be able to vote under a federal judge's ruling issued on Sunday.

Judge strikes down 'pay to vote' rule for felons in battleground Florida

In the most significant victory for voting rights this year, a federal judge in Florida has held unconstitutional a new state requirement that felons pay their fines, fees and court costs before getting to vote again.

If the ruling, issued Sunday night by Judge Robert Hinkle in Tallahassee, survives after an expected appeal by the state, hundreds of thousands more Floridians would be able to vote this fall in the most populous swing state — which is famous for two decades of extremely narrow margins in big elections.

The ultimate impact of the decision will depend on several factors, including how successful voting rights advocates are in identifying these potential new voters and getting them registered and to the polls.

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Unrigging Our Democracy: A Conversation with David Daley

Organizer: FairVote

In his newest book, "Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back To Save Democracy," FairVote senior fellow David Daley offers a hopeful outlook as he recounts recent victories by ordinary citizens who've taken on gerrymandering in Michigan, adopted ranked-choice voting in Maine, and fought for voting rights restoration in Florida.

Colin Cole and Mohit Nair, FairVote Washington's Legislative and Partnerships team, will talk with David Daley about how ordinary citizens are leading the way to ensure that our democracy functions fairly. After all, democracy doesn't pause for a pandemic.

Location: Webinar

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Landmark felon voting rights trial begins in Florida, via teleconference

The most important voting rights trial of the new decade started Monday.

The case is about whether several hundred thousand newly enfranchised Florida felons will be able to cast ballots this fall in the nation's biggest swing state. More broadly, it's about the balance of power between the people and the government.

As the trial opened, lawyers for former convicts argued the clear intent of the electorate, which voted overwhelmingly for a state constitutional amendment in 2018, was to permit their clients to register as soon as they were done with prison, probation and parole. Lawyers for the Republican state government, which decided in 2019 that repayment of fines and restitution would be required as well, said that was a valid interpretation of the voters' will.

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Big Picture
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Democracy Madness: Final Four set in our Voting bracket

The favorites took care of business in the second round of the Voting region of our Democracy Madness bracket. Now you get to decide who heads to the "regional" finals.

Will it be the No. 1 seed, a new Voting Rights Act, which blew away the idea of expanded early voting? Or maybe No. 4, universal automatic voter registration, will keep on rolling after shutting down the call for expanded felons' voting rights.

The No 3 seed, voting at home, is the darling of the moment and ended the Cinderella run for No. 11 STAR Voting. But now it faces the No. 2 seed, ranked-choice voting, which had the most dominating win of the round — absolutely crushing another surprise performer, the No. 10 seed, a ban on straight-ticket voting.

The 2-vs-3 game may be the biggest matchup of the tournament, with RCV and vote-at-home trying to keep their momentum going. RCV has had the longer public relations campaign, but the coronavirus has made voting at home (absentee ballots sent to everyone) the story of the season. Keep your eye on that one.

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