Virus, fees hinder drive to register Florida felons to vote

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — When Floridians overwhelmingly approved a measure allowing most felons to vote after completing their sentences, many expected Democrats to benefit most from the participation of up to 1.4 million newly eligible voters in this year’s election.

But the coronavirus pandemic, which has hampered registration drives, and a disputed requirement that felons pay a series of costs before their rights are restored have turned the anticipated geyser of new voters in the largest swing state into a trickle.

The state does not track how many felons — or “returning citizens” as many activists call them — have been registered since Amendment 4 passed in 2018, lifting a ban enacted following the Civil War. But Desmond Meade, president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, the amendment’s main backer, puts the number at 100,000.

He hopes to add 40,000 more by the state’s Oct. 5 general election registration

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US universities under pressure to cut fees because of remote learning

Jackson Butler received an unexpected boost this week after growing frustration that his final year at Georgetown University would be largely taught online with limited access to its Washington DC base.

“It’s very clear we’ll have a diminished experience,” he said. “There will be no extracurricular activities and we won’t be able to access resources on campus.”

But after organising a petition of 2,000 students accusing Georgetown of “highway robbery” for maintaining its tuition fees at nearly $58,000 a year, the university backed down and offered a 10 per cent discount.

Georgetown has become one of just a handful of elite US institutions to make such a gesture, with most resisting calls for discounts as they brace themselves for the hefty impact of coronavirus on their own budgets.

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Georgetown’s move adds to pressure on institutions around the world to make concessions to students who feel

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