Singer and songwriter John Legend attended a Friday day of support for voters who regained the right to vote after serving their prison sentences this year thanks to the passage of Amendment 4 in 2018.
“I’m here on the @FLRightsRestore voter registration bus today as we work to register people previously incarcerated to vote,” the artist said on his Twitter account.
“I am honored to help register these people to vote,” he added.
In addition to participating in voter registration, the singer-songwriter visited a court where a session was held to hear motions from ex-prisoners as part of a program of the Miami-Dade District Attorney’s Office to make it easier for ex-prisoners to settle outstanding judicial debts in order to fully take advantage of the amendment and join the electoral roll.
“Miami-Dade County made history today by establishing first court sessions to restore voting rights to people who are financially unable to pay their court costs or fines,” Legend said.
Accompanied by activist Desmond Meade, promoter of the plebiscite that restored voting rights to former prisoners, and Miami-Dade state prosecutor Katherine Fernandez Rundle, the singer heard the motions sitting among the public.
With the passage of Amendment 4 in the 2018 election with more than 64 percent of voters, it is estimated that more than 1.4 million ex-convicts in Florida regained their right to vote, except for those who served prison terms for murder or sex crimes.
However, the Legislature and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, established through a law that recovery of the vote is subject to the payment of court costs and other penalties, a measure that is being debated in the courts.
The singer urged support for the Florida Coalition for Restoration of Rights, chaired by Meade and a proponent of the amendment.
Last October, a federal judge ruled in favor of a group of former prisoners who sued the state of Florida because, although they regained the right to vote because of the amendment, they can only register to vote if they have paid outstanding court fines.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the court made it clear “that the vote of a citizen who was imprisoned cannot be conditioned on his wealth,” which it considered an important step in the case they hope to ultimately demonstrate, the Florida Supreme Court.