Despite Felony Conviction, Trump Likely Retains Voting Rights in Florida

Jimmy Williams

Former President Donald Trump, now a convicted felon and the presumptive GOP nominee for the presidency, appears likely to retain his voting rights in Florida this fall. Trump, who shifted his primary residence from New York to Florida in 2019, faces a legal landscape that could still allow him to vote — and vote for himself — despite his recent conviction.

On Thursday, Trump was convicted on 34 felony counts related to falsifying business records. His sentencing is scheduled for July, but his legal team is expected to file multiple appeals, leaving his potential prison time uncertain. Legal experts suggest that, despite the conviction, Trump will likely retain his right to vote in Florida.

Blair Bowie, an attorney at the Campaign Legal Center, notes that Florida law often defers to the laws of the convicting state regarding voter disenfranchisement. According to the Florida Division of Elections, a Florida resident with a felony conviction in another state is only ineligible to vote if that conviction would render them ineligible in the convicting state. New York law specifies that felons lose their voting rights while in prison, but regain them upon release, during probation, or if their sentence is suspended.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis affirmed this interpretation in a social media post, stating, “Trump hasn’t lost his voting rights in Florida. Rights are not removed in Florida where they haven’t yet been stripped in the convicting jurisdiction.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New York clarifies that convicted felons who are on parole, probation, not sentenced to prison, or have completed their prison sentences can vote. Bowie concurs, emphasizing that New York law restores voting rights once a person is not incarcerated, which would similarly apply in Florida.

CBS News legal analyst and Loyola University Law School professor Jessica Levinson echoes this sentiment, stating that unless Trump is incarcerated, he retains his right to vote under New York law, and consequently, under Florida law as well.

Trump is still facing additional legal challenges, including charges related to alleged election interference in Georgia and Washington, D.C., and a 40-count indictment concerning classified documents in Florida. However, trial dates for these cases have not yet been set, leaving his immediate voting eligibility unaffected.

This complex legal scenario underscores the unique position Trump occupies as a former president and a convicted felon, navigating multiple legal battles while remaining a central figure in the upcoming presidential election.

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