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Politics / Issues

NBA’s LeBron James To Help Florida Felons Pay Legal Debts

Hands Logo for More Than A Vote campaign
Morethanavote.org

Former Miami Heat superstar LeBron James might have taken his basketball skills to the West Coast, but he continues to have an eye on Florida.

His “More Than A Vote” initiative on Friday committed $100,000 to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to help ensure felons are able to regain the right to vote.

“This is a fight about their constitutional right to vote being denied,” James tweeted.

The money is expected to help felons pay court-ordered financial obligations that keep them from completing all the terms of their sentences after they are released from prison. Other players, including Miami Heat player Udonis Haslem are holding events on social media to raise attention and money to the cause.

More than 65 percent of Florida voters in 2018 approved a constitutional amendment to restore the voting rights of felons who have completed their sentences. But the issue has led to a major legal battle after the Legislature in 2019 passed a law that requires felons to pay fees, fines, restitution and court costs associated with their convictions to be eligible to vote.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is slated to hear arguments next month in a challenge to the 2019 law, with voting-rights groups likening the financial requirements to a “poll tax.”

Orlando attorney John Morgan tweeted that he’s willing to match James’ effort to help felons pay the court-ordered obligations.

“LeBron, you put up $100K and I put up $100K,” Morgan tweeted. “Let’s challenge our friends to help. I challenge @BillClinton to help us. We pay the cheapest fines first. @KingJames, who are you going to challenge?!?”

Now a Los Angeles Laker, James spent four seasons with the Miami Heat, bringing two NBA championships to South Florida.