Trump's Conviction Sparks Debate: Will He Lose His Voting Rights in Florida?

Former President Donald Trump faces a new challenge following his conviction in the New York hush-money case. The legal implications of this conviction have sparked a debate over his future political and voting rights.

What Happened: After being found guilty on 34 counts of falsifying business records related to a payment to Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election, the eligibility of Donald Trump to vote in Florida and run for the White House has come into question.

Florida Department of State website states — “A felony conviction in another state makes a person ineligible to vote in Florida only if the conviction would make the person ineligible to vote in the state where the person was convicted.” 

Despite the felony conviction, consultations with legal experts suggest that Trump is unlikely to lose his Florida voting rights, reported NBC Miami. Florida’s laws on felon voting rights, amended in 2018, permit felons to vote after completing their sentences, excluding those convicted of murder or sexual offenses. However, the process for restoring these rights is muddled, lacking a clear verification system for completed sentence terms, including financial obligations.

Experts cite a 2021 New York law that reinstates voting rights post-incarceration. Given Trump’s conviction is from New York, and Florida law states a person is only ineligible to vote in Florida if they are ineligible in their state of conviction, Trump’s voting rights could remain secure unless he is imprisoned during an election.

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Legal scholars, such as Justin Levitt, a former White House policy adviser, express skepticism that Trump will face jail time due to the nonviolent nature of the crime and his clean prior record. If sentenced to prison, an extensive appeals process would likely precede any actual incarceration or loss of voting rights in Florida.

“I think it's exceedingly unlikely that he's sentenced to a term of imprisonment even if convicted, and so I think it's exceedingly unlikely that he's going to lose his voting rights based on anything that happens in NY,” said Levitt, according to the report.

The Florida Constitution introduces further uncertainty with its vague wording on the effects of out-of-state felony convictions on voting rights. This ambiguity may necessitate judicial interpretation should Trump’s conviction prompt a challenge to his voting eligibility.

Why It Matters: The legal landscape following Trump’s conviction is fraught with uncertainties. Trump’s guilty verdict on all counts could have significant implications for his political aspirations, including his potential candidacy in the next presidential election.

Trump has maintained his innocence and proclaimed that the “real verdict” will come from the people on November 5.

The question of jail time remains open, with prosecutor Alvin Bragg declining to confirm whether incarceration will be pursued.

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This story was generated using Benzinga Neuro and edited by Shivdeep Dhaliwal

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Posted In: NewsPoliticsGeneralAlvin BraggDonald TrumpFloridaShivdeep DhaliwalTrumpTrump Hush Money Case
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