LeBron James and Others Help Released Felons In Florida Vote By Donating $100,000 Toward Their Outstanding Court Costs and Fines
LeBron James and Others Are Helping Those In Florida with Felony Records Vote By Helping to Settle Their Court Debts
LeBron James is using his newly launched organization to help pay outstanding court fees and fines for released felons in Florida so they can vote in this November’s presidential election.
The NBA star, along with other Black athletes and entertainers, launched More Than A Vote in June to combat voter suppression. The organization said on Friday, July 24, that it would give $100,000 to Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to help pay off those debts.
This is a fight about their constitutional right to vote being denied,” James tweeted Friday about the donation.
Udonis Haslem, a forward for the Miami Heat and a member of More Than a Vote, also addressed the six-figure donation.
“Your right to vote shouldn’t depend upon whether or not you can pay to exercise it,” he said in a statement. “Which is why More Than A Vote is proud to partner with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to ensure that formerly incarcerated American citizens — many of them Black and brown — are able to pay their outstanding fines and fees and register to vote in the 2020 election and beyond.”
The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition helped to pass Amendment 4 in 2018, which restored voting rights for millions of Florida’s released felons. A felony conviction in the Sunshine State previously carried an automatic lifetime voting ban.
After the amendment succeeded at the polls, Republicans set out to thwart the will of the voters. Within months of the electoral result, the GOP-controlled Florida Legislature passed and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill mandating that “all financial obligations, such as fines, fees and restitution,” must be settled before former felons can vote in the state. The law has since been challenged by voting rights groups.
In May, a U.S. district judge ruled that Florida’s released felons can’t be banned from voting because of outstanding court costs and fees, a ruling that was blocked earlier this month by a federal appeals court in Atlanta. The next hearing on the matter is set for the same day as Florida’s primary elections, which is Aug. 18.
Other members of More Than A Vote besides James include Draymond Green, Trae Young, retired NBA player and ESPN analyst Jalen Rose, and WNBA star Skylar Diggins-Smith.
More Than A Vote has also teamed with production company Participant and Magnolia Pictures to host an online showing of “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” a documentary about the beloved civil rights leader and U.S. congressman, who died on July 17.
Proceeds from the screening will be given to the coalition’s debt-settling initiative.