Felons can call hotline for help regaining voting rights

More than 60,000 people have donated

The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition has launched a 24/7 hotline designed to help felons regain their voting rights.

Celebrities like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Ariana Grande have donated to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition’s Fines and Fees Fund, according to Executive Director Desmond Meade.

Meade tells News 6 more than 60,000 people have donated.

He also said the need is there as returning citizens call their hotline for help to be able to vote in the 2020 General Election.

“Overall, there are 1.4 million returning citizens that benefit from Amendment 4,” Meade said.

Meade said the fines and fees owed vary depending on the case. He said the range can be from $500 to thousands of dollars.

Meade said it can be difficult for returning citizens to figure out what is owed, especially if they owe fines and fees in more than one county.

This is when the hotline comes in.

Meade said he has a team of about 50 people working at the call center and from home, fielding phone calls.

“There’s just so many people that want to get their fines and fees paid, and a lot of people want to be a part of democracy,” Meade said.

He said they work with the Clerk of Courts in the different counties and determine what people owe; then he said, they work to satisfy those financial obligations.

But he said not everyone who reaches out to them owes money.

In fact, Meade said they estimate that there’s between about 500,000 to 600,000 people who do not owe any money whatsoever and can register to vote right away.

Meade said the process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, but said there’s still time for people to call ahead of the Oct. 5 registration deadline.