Chiraag Bains, the director of Legal Strategies at Demos, a think tank often involved in voting rights litigation, said Supreme Court precedent says it’s unconstitutional to price people out of their vote.
“The bill that the governor is expected to sign into law establishes blatant wealth discrimination in the restoration of rights process,” Bains told ThinkProgress. “The bill will create two classes of returning citizens… [and] under this bill your ability to pay will govern whether you can participate in democracy.”
Bains believes there is a strong case to be made that the legislation is blatantly discriminatory and punishes people for their poverty, but says he isn’t taking anything for granted. “Especially with civil rights [litigation] and especially when Trump has been filling the judiciary with quite conservative jurists,” he added.
Bains said that in addition to the argument that Florida’s fines-and-fees legislation creates two classes of returning citizens, he also has concerns about due process rights.