Wide-Ranging Lawsuit Against Florida GOP Under Consideration By Star Lawyer

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Voting rights lawyer Marc Elias, whose team was involved in a wide array of post-election lawsuits and who recently filed a wide-ranging lawsuit against suppressive new election-related policies in Georgia, now says that he is ready to sue Florida Republicans if they pass similarly suppressive legislation that is currently under consideration.

In Georgia, under the legislation that Republican Governor Brian Kemp recently signed, outside organizations are now banned from giving food and water to voters standing in line, which just has no meaningful connection to the imaginary voter fraud that Republicans say they’re trying to address. Republicans in Florida, however, are considering new legislation that would enact a similar ban in their own state. These measures can disproportionately impact disadvantaged voters who live in marginalized communities without enough polling places to swiftly handle large numbers of voters and therefore have to wait in line longer.

As Elias put it to The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent:

‘It appears that Florida Republicans have looked at the outrage aimed at Georgia’s suppression law with envy rather than disgust. [They seem to be] borrowing from Georgia tactics aimed at disenfranchising Black voters. I have sued Florida before over their suppressive voting laws and will not hesitate to do so again.’

At present, the Florida legislation is still under development, so any legal challenge from Elias or others has to wait. In Georgia, the recently enacted new rules also, among other provisions, enact new voter ID requirements for mail-in voting, ban mobile polling places, and restrict the usage of mail-in ballot drop boxes to business hours, which could, of course, unfairly impact working people hoping to use the boxes. As the Post notes, “drop boxes and mobile voting units were heavily utilized in 2020 in Fulton County, a heavily populated and majority-Black area,” and “African Americans also disproportionately relied on vote by mail.”

Republicans have tied these efforts to supposed concerns about election integrity, but there is no legitimate evidence of any systematic fraud surrounding the 2020 election cycle, so they’re responding to a problem that, at least as some Republicans see it, does not exist. In 2020, Democrats were victorious in key states like Georgia, where voters also recently elected the state’s first Black U.S. Senator ever, Raphael Warnock, a Democrat. These are the real systematic shifts that took place, and now, Republican state leaders have come up with this suppressive legislation.

Elias’s lawsuit against Georgia authorities is on behalf of organizations including the New Georgia Project, the Black Voters Matter Fund, and Rise, a student organization, and the case alleges that the new elections law is in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Voting Rights Act. No updates in the court case have yet emerged following Elias’s initial lawsuit.