Politics MTV, VH1, Comedy Central unite to pay fees, fines to help formerly incarcerated Floridians vote
MTV to pay for printing and mailing ballot applications requested through campaign
MTV will reportedly pay for the printing and mailing of ballot applications requested through the network's voter initiative campaign. MTV will pay for costs through Oct. 6, the deadline for voters to receive applications and return them on time, network executives told Axios. Voters can access applications on the campaign websites www.VoteForYourLife.com or www.VoteEarlyDay.org. The VoteForYourLife campaign is sponsored by ViaComCBS, MTV'sMTV will pay for costs through Oct. 6, the deadline for voters to receive applications and return them on time, network executives told Axios.
MTV, Comedy Central and VH1 announced they will be making a joint $250,000 donation to pay off fines, fees and restitution in an effort to increase voter access for young people in Florida.
The announcement is a response to a Florida law that requires payment of fines, fees and restitution before voting in the Sunshine State.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a 6-4 ruling last week upheld the law, which requires that former felons pay off outstanding court fees before having voting rights restored.
Voting By Mail? Here Are the Deadlines in Every U.S. State
Voting By Mail? Here Are the Deadlines in Every U.S. StateBefore the pandemic, five states—Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah—already held all-mail elections, meaning every active registered voter automatically received a ballot in the mail that would allow them to bypass a physical polling place. Due to COVID-19, several more states, including California and New Jersey, are adopting this model for the 2020 election. Twenty-nine states and Washington D.C. already allowed for “no excuse” mail-in absentee ballots, meaning voters can request a mail-in ballot without having to meet certain qualifications.
"This announcement is a continuation of our legacy in both increasing voter access for young people, and also our continuing commitment to racial justice," said Erika Soto Lamb, vice president of social impact for ViacomCBS, told WLRN-FM in Miami on Friday.
"The fines can range anywhere from $200 to more than $1,000. We have estimated that at least 1,250 people will be able to vote this year because of the contribution that we're making," Soto Lamb added.
The donation will be made to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, a nonprofit organization that aims to help pay costs related to felony cases.
Current NBA star Lebron James has donated $100,000 to the organization, as has NBA legend Michael Jordan, who donated $500,000.
"We need the money. That's the bottom line," said Angel Sanchez of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. "We're absolutely excited whenever major players join in these efforts. It actually inspires many other folks to also want to join in."
"The vote is being held hostage with poor folks, to see if you can get friends and family to pay this off," Sanchez added. "And what we're saying is that look: People's vote matters so much that we're gonna get friends, we're gonna get family, we're gonna get celebrities - we're gonna get everyone we can to pay them off."
The voter registration deadline in Florida is Oct. 5.
Florida is a critical state in the 2020 presidential race, with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden holding a slim 1.2-point there lead over President Trump in the RealClearPolitics index of polls
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