Returning citizens need three crucial things to rebuild their lives after being released from incarceration: affordable housing, a job, and reliable transportation. The key to all this is a driver's license. But here's the thing - many states suspend driver's licenses when the driver has unpaid fines, fees, or court debt. Oftentimes the only form of ID returning citizens enter the world with is an inmate identification card, which doesn't cut it for housing or employment. Crucial documents like birth certificates are lost in the shuffle of incarceration, losing contact with relatives, and losing housing. Without a driver's license, searching for a job is very difficult (86% of Americans drive to work), so there's no income to pay off those debts. The longer fines and fees go unpaid, the larger the interest becomes - and a growing cycle of debt is created, which is almost impossible to overcome without support. 

THE SOLUTION: Spread The Vote's new Fund 4 Fines. 

With your support, we will be able to pay our clients' reinstatement fees, fines, and other unresolved debt so they can finally get their driver's licenses back and begin to rebuild their lives. Funds raised will go directly towards reinstating our clients' licenses.

Most of our clients have between $250 - $2,500 in outstanding fines. Here's an example of one of our client's fees from Detroit, Michigan:

Expired plates - $228

Improperly displayed plate - $180

Failure to display operator's license - $95

No insurance - $95

TOTAL - $598

If you can, please consider becoming a monthly donor to this important effort. With your help, we can build an ongoing fund to assist as many of our clients as possible!


Here at Spread The Vote, we help people get the ID's they need to access housing, employment, healthcare, voting, and more. We have the know-how to get driver's licenses to the people who need them most - our hard-working staff and volunteers have helped thousands of people through this process, obtaining birth certificates, marriage and divorce records, and navigating the bureaucracy of Social Security and state DMV's. We also help our clients figure out exactly how much they owe, and set up manageable payment plans or get some fines forgiven where possible. But we need your help to clear our clients' fines and fees so they can truly be free from the cycle of debt.  


Follow @SpreadTheVoteUS for updates on the campaign

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The Fines and Fees Justice Center studies legal debt policy across the country - learn about this issue by following @FinesandFeesJC 

Show your support for this campaign by endorsing it and sharing why!

  • endorsed

    “Without this fund I know a few client's who still wouldn't have their IDs. This Fund4Fines is changing lives. I love what I do because work like this is critical!”

May 6, 2021

36th District Court is Slow to Update Clearances

After all of Shawn's fees were paid with the 36th District court we waited three weeks before scheduling his appointment with the Secretary of State to have his license reinstated. We hoped to receive clearances in the mail, but the USPS hadn't delivered to Shawn's neighborhood in Southwest Detroit for nearly a month. We helped him get an appointment with SOS and took his receipts hoping to finally get his ID restored. 

Unfortunately not only are the same charges showing up in SOS' system that have already been paid to 36th district, but now SOS has pulled up charges in other cities from as far back as 2006, these new charges were not pulled when Shawn first visited SOS  in December 2020. 

Shawn was disappointed but is not deterred and feels confident that with our support of STV he can get out of the cycle of debt that years in the system distanced him from. Shawn's next steps are to check with 36th District court on the final clearances for the fines that were paid in full while we raise the funds needed to aid in the new cities where Shawn has holds.  

Please support our work getting IDs and restoring lives, let's get Shawn #FineFree!

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