After the Civil War, a lot of states passed laws that banned those from being convicted of a felony from ever voting again. You’re smart enough to guess why. Most states changed those laws as we became a more equal society. But not all of them. “Florida remained a holdout — until 2018, when Floridians overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment restoring voting rights to nearly everyone with a criminal record, upon the completion of their sentence … Immediately, as many as 1.4 million people in the state became eligible to vote. It was the biggest expansion of voting rights in decades, anywhere in the country. That should have been the end of it. But within a year, Florida’s Republican-led Legislature gutted the reform by passing a law defining a criminal sentence as complete only after the person sentenced has paid all legal financial obligations connected to it.” This is part of a much broader strategy to use voting laws and gerrymandering to limit the impact of minority votes. As America’s demographics have changed, voting limitations have become increasingly important to those clinging to power, and increasingly damaging to democracy. Jesse Wegman and Damon Winter with a photo essay in the NYT (Gift Article for NextDraft readers, even those with a record). When It Costs $53,000 to Vote. And before you look away and think, “Yeah but we’re talking about felons,” consider Sergio Thornton. He “has been out of prison since 2012, but he still owed about $20,000 when he was photographed — ‘all fines and fees, just for selling $40 worth of drugs,’ he said. His original debt was more than double that amount, upward of $40,000, as he recalls.” (You know what a white guy gets for selling $40 of drugs? $40.)