by Damjan Tutarkov
An initiative spearheaded by celebrities and politicians including LeBron James and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has paid off the fines and fees of tens of thousands of felons in Florida to make some of them eligible to vote, according to an analysis by the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald and ProPublica.
James, Bloomberg, and other celebrities have teamed up with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and collectively raised nearly $22 million to pay the fines of 32,000 felons in Florida before Election Day, making nearly 13,000 of them eligible for voting.
The effort came shortly after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis won a court battle to allow felons to vote only after they’ve served their sentences and paid off fines and court fees of less than $1500.
According to the Times/Herald/ProPublica analysis, “among four of the state’s largest counties — Hillsborough, Pinellas, Palm Beach and Polk — about 32 percent, or 1,518, of the 4,700 felons who had their fines and fees paid by the nonprofit Florida Rights Restoration Coalition are registered to vote in the upcoming election.”