Two of basketball’s biggest stars have been chipping in to help Florida felons vote in this year’s election.
LeBron James and Michael Jordan helped join Michael Bloomberg’s $27 million effort to help clear fines and fees for about 40,000 felons in the state so that they can vote in Tuesday’s election, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
It’s not clear how much they contributed. Spokespeople for both Bloomberg and James’ “More Than A Vote” organization did not return the Times’ requests for comment.
Bloomberg enlists celebrities to help Florida felons
James and Jordan are just the latest to help pitch in and assist Florida felons vote in this year’s election.
About 1.4 million Floridians had their right to vote restored in 2018 thanks to Amendment 4, which allowed convicted felons who have served their sentences to vote again — with the exception of murder or sexual abuse.
Last year, however, Republican lawmakers and the governor passed a law that required ex-felons to pay back court fines and fees before regaining their right to vote — which is essentially a poll tax and was found to be unconstitutional in May.
An appeals court ruling earlier this year overturned that unconstitutional ruling. Five of the six votes that overturned that ruling, according to The New York Times, came from judges who were appointed by President Donald Trump.
About 75 percent of former felons owe court debt, and about 70 percent of them are unable to pay. There is no central database used in the state, either, making paying those fees extremely difficult if not impossible.
Several groups have joined the fight to help restore their votes in time for Election Day. James and “More Than A Vote” had previously committed $100,000, and the Miami Heat donated $45,000.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, about 32 percent of the 4,700 felons who had their rights restored through Bloomberg’s foundation in the states four biggest counties had registered to vote.
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