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

Follow and amplify #FineFreeFriday on Twitter

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!”

March 4, 2022

An Update on Kelli's Case - Part 2

Last week, we told you about Kelli, one of our clients from Michigan who we’ve been working with on her driver’s license restoration for almost a year. Scroll back to our previous update for Part 1 of this story.

Throughout the fall of 2021, Kelli was waiting for a letter that would tell her whether a new Michigan law would help her get her license restored. On November 29, Kelli got her letter, and the new law hadn’t given her driving privileges back. We were disappointed, but we didn’t give up - we scheduled a hearing to address her outstanding fines. The court reduced her balance, and the Fund 4 Fines covered the rest for Kelli. It was now January of 2022, and with her debt cleared, we were confident that Kelli would get her license back. So we scheduled her DMV appointment, hoping that with this update, we’d be able to share the good news with you all.

The day came, and to our enormous frustration, her application was denied because two new citations popped up on her record - citations that we had never seen before in all our months of searching. In fact, Kelli suspected that they didn’t even belong to her, because her birthday and other personal information were incorrect on the records. Nevertheless, we had to schedule yet another court appearance to clear up the confusion.

Kelli appeared at a hearing on February 7. The two new citations were dismissed, as we hoped, but the judge still did not restore her driving privileges - for the final decision, we’re waiting for another hearing in late March, which will be more than a year after we first started working on this with her.

The truth is, delays and frustrations and disorganization and bureaucratic tangles are the reason why we do what we do. These systems are enormously complicated - even the most persistent and dedicated people can’t always navigate them on their own. Your contributions make this detailed and time-intensive work possible, and we are so grateful to you. With your continued support, we know we can get Kelli, and many other clients, over the finish line! We're looking forward to the end of the month, when we hope to hear that Kelli can get her license back. Thanks for coming on this journey with us.

Back to all updates

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