Another Lawsuit Filed To Stop Florida Voter Suppression Law

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The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) has filed a federal lawsuit against a newly enacted set of GOP-backed voting restrictions in Florida. The restrictions, like those imposed elsewhere, essentially stand as solutions to a problem that does not exist, because no evidence of any systematic election security issues has emerged in Florida or anywhere else in the entire country in connection to the 2020 presidential race (or any other recent presidential race). No matter these facts, Republicans have pushed ahead with imposing restrictions.

As summarized by the NAACP fund behind the lawsuit, the new federal case claims that the newly signed Florida election restrictions bill “creates barriers and burdens that impact all Florida voters and disproportionately impacts the ability of Black voters, Latino voters, and voters with disabilities to cast their ballot.” The fund also insists that the newly finalized legislation is in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed the lawsuit on behalf of a coalition including the Florida NAACP, Disability Rights Florida, and Common Cause. Referring to the bill, LDF Assistant Counsel Zachery Morris commented as follows on the occasion of the new lawsuit:

‘S.B. 90 represents a direct and swift backlash to Black voters’ historic turnout during the 2020 election season. The law’s suppressive and discriminatory provisions make it clear that the Florida Legislature’s goal is to erect additional hurdles to inhibit Florida voters, especially disabled voters, Black voters, and Latino voters, from accessing the ballot box. These efforts are shameful and they are not new. We cannot allow elected officials to suppress votes under the guise of election integrity.’

There is already another federal lawsuit from a similarly minded coalition against the new Florida voting restrictions. The groups behind that other lawsuit include the League of Women Voters of Florida, the Black Voters Matters Fund, and the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, and on a similar note, that coalition insists that the new restrictions violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

The NAACP-backed lawsuit challenges specific provisions of the new Florida restrictions including, as the legal defense fund explains it, “New identification requirements for voters requesting vote-by-mail (“VBM”) ballots,” “Limitations on where, when, and how drop boxes can be used,” and “Limitations on third-party VBM ballot return,” besides other issues. In general, pointless new voter ID requirements for absentee voters could negatively impact disabled or otherwise marginalized voters who might not have the required ID. On a similar note, limitations on the third parties who are allowed to return absentee voters’ completed ballots could impede voters who might have some difficulty returning their own ballots.