Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has reportedly raised more than $16 million in an effort to help convicted felons in Florida register to vote.
The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition estimated Bloomberg’s fundraising push has already paid off monetary obligations for 32,000 felons, Axios reported.
“The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and no American should be denied that right,” a Bloomberg spokesperson told the news outlet. “Working together with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, we are determined to end disenfranchisement and the discrimination that has always driven it.”
Bloomberg, who has committed at least $100 million to elect Biden in the state, raised the money from individuals and foundations over the past week, his advisers said. He saw the donations as a more cost-effective way of adding votes to the Democratic column than investing money to persuade voters who already have the right to vote, a Bloomberg memo said.
Democrats making big play for felons vote in Florida. Law says voting rights restored only after prison time served, fines paid. Now Bloomberg paying fines for felons–blacks, Hispanics only–to allow voting. From WP: https://t.co/JAVfzoZyZc https://t.co/PViosFpvLX pic.twitter.com/pi6IdDinJb
— Byron York (@ByronYork) September 22, 2020
Florida passed a law in 2018 reinstating voting rights for felons that dictated they could register only if they pay all fines, fees and restitution — sometimes totaling more than $1,000 — owed to the government.
Voters in Florida approved a constitutional amendment during the 2018 midterms that restored voting rights to more than a million people previously convicted of felonies, except those imprisoned for murder or sex offenses, according to CNN.