February 02, 2018

“They must plod through a gauntlet of constitutionally infirm hurdles,” U.S. District
Court Judge Mark E. Walker wrote. “No more.”

Jim Exline is elated over a federal court ruling that opened the door for former felons to regain the right to vote, and found Florida’s restrictive process for restoring those rights unconstitutional.

Once, Exline was an elected official, serving for seven years as a city commissioner in West Palm Beach. He resigned and got a 10-month jail sentence in 2007 for tax fraud in the fallout of a scheme to disguise income from a real estate developer looking to create a project in the city.

But now, he’s at the forefront of a fight to restore voting rights for about 1.5 million Floridians who’ve completed their sentences but remain without the right to vote.

As a named plaintiff in a proposed class-action lawsuit, Exline worked with attorneys from Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll and the national voting rights organization, Fair Elections Legal Network.

The ruling was a victory for Exline and other plaintiffs in March 2017 suit against Gov. Rick Scott and the Clemency Board that restores civil rights to former inmates.

“No longer can politicians arbitrarily deny fundamental rights to citizens of the state of Florida,” said Theodore Leopold, a partner in Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll’s Palm Beach Gardens office.

The full article can be accessed here.