In Florida there is an organization that is committed to helping people who have previously been in prison to restore their voting rights in time for the 2020 general election. Now, MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central have joined the efforts of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and donated $ 250,000 to support their efforts to improve voter access by helping this community pay fines and fees they received from hold the vote.
The donation announcement was made public on National Black Voter Day, when BET, the National Urban League and a number of other partner organizations have come together to resolve the issues Black Americans face while voting.
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“The fees and fines that returning citizens have to pay for voting are a modern poll tax that serves to discourage marginalized people from voting – and which affects black voters disproportionately. We are excited to work with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to do our part to ensure that any American who wants to vote in this election can do so, ”said Brianna Cayo Cotter, senior vice president of social impact at ViacomCBS . "We are determined to use our platforms and outreach to promote justice for people of color who are too often excluded from the system, and we urge other companies to join this campaign for electoral access and racial justice."
In 2018, Amendment 4 was passed in Florida, which restored the right to vote in former prisoners. In the process, however, lawmakers passed a law requiring these people to pay fees and fines between $ 200 and $ 2,000 before they can register to vote. With a third of Florida’s 1.4 million formerly incarcerated citizens being black, according to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, it has been proven that these financial obstacles disproportionately affect people of skin color.
“No American citizen should be forced to put on the table or vote between meals. Nobody should be silenced for being poor, ”said Desmond Meade, Executive Director of the FRRC. "While we're only two weeks from Florida's voter registration deadline, donations like this strengthen our determination to continue fighting for Florida vote liberation."
The FRRC has already raised millions to pay the fees and fines associated with restoring the franchise to this community. The result has resulted in nearly 4,000 Floridians regaining their voting rights. Poor people who rejoin mainstream society no longer need to feel that they cannot be part of democracy.
The Florida voting deadline is October 5th.