DeSantis Sets Record Straight on Trump’s Voting Rights in Florida After Conviction

‘Former President Donald Trump hasn’t lost his voting rights in Florida,’ DeSantis wrote.

Amid speculation about the voting rights implications of former President Donald Trump’s recent felony conviction, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has vowed to make sure that the former president will be able to cast a vote in his home state of Florida.

A jury on Thursday found President Trump guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in order to influence the 2016 presidential election in which he was a candidate.

The former president and his attorneys have vowed to appeal and a number of legal experts—including former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz—argue that the appeal is winnable. However, the guilty verdict means that President Trump is currently a convicted felon—along with the various implications of that label. This has led to questions about the former president’s ability to cast a vote.

Florida, where President Trump has had his primary residence since 2019, does not allow felons to cast ballots unless they have served out their sentences, including probation or parole.

Under the law in New York state, where President Trump was convicted, he is still eligible to vote because he is not currently serving his sentence.

There have been conflicting views on whether the former president is eligible to cast a vote in the November election.

DeSantis Weighs In

Mr. DeSantis weighed in on the matter, offering clarification on whether President Trump is eligible to vote in his home state.

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“Former President Donald Trump hasn’t lost his voting rights in Florida,” Mr. DeSantis wrote in a post on X. “Rights are not removed in Florida where they haven’t yet been stripped in the convicting jurisdiction.”

Blair Bowie of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center has backed the view that President Trump has not lost the ability to cast a legal vote in Florida.

“If a Floridian’s voting rights are restored in the state of conviction (or they don’t lose their right to vote there), they are restored under Florida law,” she wrote in a recent blog post. “This would not apply to cases in federal courts located in other states, like the January 6 cases in federal court in Washington, DC, however.”

This means that if the former president manages to stay out of prison in New York, he will still be eligible to vote this November in Florida. His sentencing is scheduled for July 11, four days before the Republican National Convention at which he’ll be formally declared the party’s presidential nominee.

Lack of Clarity?

By contrast, a group called the Florida Justice Center which has expertise on Florida voting rights, said in a post on LinkedIn that it’s unclear whether Florida law indeed provides a distinction for out-of-state convictions in regard to the right to vote in the state. The group said that it interprets the law in a conservative fashion because a mistake can lead to someone being charged with two felonies—one for registering to vote when ineligible and another for casting an ineligible vote.

“This lack of clarity, however, is part of the problem that has led to a loss of confidence in Florida’s voting system and has caused many of our clients to be afraid to lawfully exercise their right to vote,” the group wrote, while calling on Mr. DeSantis to “quickly pass laws so that former President Donald Trump and the millions of other Floridians with a felony conviction can have clarity on their ability to vote and restore full faith in the electoral process.”

In his remarks about President Trump’s right to vote, Mr. DeSantis said that there’s another factor that could be brought to bear in order to further protect the former president’s ability to cast a vote despite his felony conviction and a possible sentencing.

“Given the absurd nature of the New York prosecution of Trump, this would be an easy case to qualify for restoration of rights per the Florida Clemency Board, which I chair,” Mr. DeSantis wrote, suggesting that he would ensure that the clemency board cleared a path for the former president to vote.

“The bottom line is that Donald Trump’s vote this November will be one of millions that demonstrate Florida is now a solid Republican state!” Mr. DeSantis added.

Mr. DeSantis and President Trump squared off against each other in the GOP primary race, but since the Florida governor dropped out contention, he has endorsed the former president and has even been floated as a potential running mate.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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