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LeBron James, More Than a Vote Donating to Combat Florida Disenfranchisement

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 24, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) plays in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
Brandon Dill/Associated Press

More Than A Vote, the voting rights organization co-founded by Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, is partnering with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to aid in restoring the voting rights of Florida residents with past felony convictions. 

Mother Jones' Ari Berman tweeted More Than A Vote's statement on the partnership:

Ari Berman @AriBerman

.@KingJames new voting rights group @morethanavote announces it is raising $100,000 for @FLRightsRestore to pay off fees & fines of people with past felony convictions in Florida so that they can vote in November https://t.co/RmWQsCu9KW

More Than a Vote has pledged to raise $100,000 to contribute to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition's fines and fees fund, which is used to help pay the fees needed to make those with past felony convictions eligible to register to vote.

Berman noted that the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition has already raised $1.5 million to help pay off the aforementioned fines.

In 2018, Florida voters passed an amendment to the state constitution that restored the voting rights of individuals with prior felony convictions other than sexual assault or murder who have completed their sentences, including parole or probation. The passing of the amendment restored the voting rights of over 1 million people in Florida.

However, the Florida legislature later passed a law that required those with past felony convictions to complete payment of all fines and court fees related to their convictions before they would be eligible to register to vote.

In the aftermath of widespread voting issues during the primary election in Georgia, which included a lack of polling places in predominantly Black areas, James partnered with several other athletes, including Skylar Diggins-Smith, Trae Young and Jalen Rose to found More Than A Vote. The organization will seek to get out the vote in the Black community and help fight voter suppression, especially in communities of color.

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James is one of many high-profile athletes who have been outspoken against President Donald Trump during his time in office. LeBron even called Trump a "bum" on Twitter in 2017 when Trump revoked a White House invitation to Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry.

Florida promises to be a battleground state in the 2020 presidential election between Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

Trump won Florida with 49.0 percent of the vote four years ago compared to Hilary Clinton's 47.8 percent, but Barack Obama won Florida in both the 2012 and 2008 elections with Biden as his running mate.

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