The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Thursday to weigh in on a federal appeals court’s decision that blocked some Florida felons’ eligibility to participate in elections — a major blow to efforts to restore voting rights to as many as 1.4 million people in the battleground state.
Lawyers with the Campaign Legal Center in Washington petitioned the high court in early July after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta temporarily blocked a judge’s order that had cleared the way for hundreds of thousands of felons in the state to register to vote.
The organization argued that the appeals court decision had “thrown the election rules into chaos.”
But on Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the request to lift the order. Three liberal justices dissented, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor writing that the court’s decision “prevents thousands of otherwise eligible voters from participating in Florida’s primary election simply because they are poor.”