Thousands of Florida felons could now be eligible to vote after a Michael Bloomberg-backed push to pay their lingering court fines and fees. The donations from stars like Lebron James, Michael Jordan and Ariana Grande. An analysis by the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald and ProPublica found that the effort could help make almost 13,000 felons eligible to vote in the election on Tuesday (Nov. 3).
The move could possibly impact the presidential election, since the additional could enough of a difference in Florida, which is a key state where polls predict that this number of votes could be the deciding factor for which candidate takes the win in the state.
The endeavor cleared the debts of nearly 40,000 felons in the state, which led to 13,000 eligible voters considering that all their other debts are also cleared. Their votes are critical in the swing state that has 29 electoral college votes. Covering their fees cost up to nearly $27 million. Bloomberg, who started the effort, raised $16 million alone by calling others to join. James, Jordan and Grande were among the high-profile celebrities to donate money to the effort. Other Florida residents also chipped in and helped collect millions of dollars to go toward the fees.
James has been actively encouraging people to vote through his More Than a Vote organization and launched a campaign to help increase the number of poll workers in Black electoral districts. The effort helped recruit over 10,000 people by the end of September. On Monday (Nov. 2), he took to Instagram to endorse Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the presidential election.
“One more day. Please !! We need EVERYTHING to change and it all starts tomorrow. #BidenHarris #MoreThanaVote,” the basketball star captioned the post.
The NBA star’s efforts caught the attention of President Donald Trump, who criticized him calling him a “hater” and a “spokesman for the Democratic party” during an interview on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. “The NBA has become so political that nobody cares about it anymore,” Trump said in October.
“LeBron is a spokesman for the Democratic party and a very nasty spokesman,” he reportedly added. “I don’t know him, I never met him. Because, again, I’ve done so much for the Black community and people don’t wanna see that and he’s a great basketball player, but people don’t want to see a guy that’s that way. They don’t want to see that. … He’s a hater. You don’t want to sit down, watch a basketball game, and then watch somebody that hates your guts, okay.”