Former New York mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has helped raise over $20 million in an effort to restore voting rights to former felons in Florida. In 2018, Floridians voted to restore voting rights to felons who finished their prison sentence.
Bloomberg’s cash infusion follows a 2019 Republican bill signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) that requires felons to pay fines before they are eligible to vote. The law was found unconstitutional in May but an appeals court overturned that ruling on Sept. 11th.
NBC projects that Florida will pass Amendment 4, restoring voting rights to felons. pic.twitter.com/Sr6Z9DtxzB— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) November 7, 2018
But Bloomberg quickly swept in and pumped millions into an effort to pay the outstanding fines and restore voting rights to tens of thousands of felons.
In a statement, Bloomberg said, “The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and no American should be denied that right. Working together with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, we are determined to end disenfranchisement and the discrimination that has always driven it.”
The Florida Rights Restitution Commission (FRRC) raised around $5 million before Bloomberg’s cash infusion which totaled over $17 million. This restores roughly 31,100 people’s voting rights.
FRRC Director Desmond Meade shot down the idea that this is a political play, saying, “To hell with politics, to hell with any other implications or insinuations, at the end of the day it’s about real people, real lives, American citizens who want to be a part of this.”
Bloomberg previously committed to spending $100 million to help elect Democratic nominee Joe Biden in Florida.
Bloomberg advisor Kevin Sheekey said in early September, “Mike Bloomberg is committed to helping defeat Trump, and that is going to happen in the battleground states.”
Sheekey added that Bloomberg’s funding “will mean Democrats and the Biden campaign can invest even more heavily in other key states like Pennsylvania, which will be critical to a Biden victory.”
After that announcement, President Donald Trump bashed Bloomberg on Twitter, writing, “Mini Mike Bloomberg, after making a total fool of himself as he got badly beaten up by Pocahontas and the Democrats in the Primaries, is at it again. He tried to buy an Election and went away with a major case of Depression. Now he’s throwing money at the Dems, looking for a job!”