Ron DeSantis is apparently running for president, but he’s also still the governor of Florida, where he recently signed a sweeping legislative initiative dealing with elections into law — and nearly instantly, the move drew a legal challenge.
A group of voting rights organizations including the Florida wing of the NAACP and the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans filed a lawsuit within hours that targeted new rules for non-governmental organizations that do voter registration work and for requesting mail-in ballots. On the latter front, only the individual voter or their immediate family members will now be permitted to request a mail-in ballot, which potentially could seriously penalize those who need a lot of help because of language barriers, disability, or any other reason. With those outreach groups, the lawsuit notes — as further elaborated upon by Democracy Docket, a voting rights org — that marginalized communities are often particularly served by such organizations’ actions.
Now, there are new limits on the people these organizations can utilize in their outreach initiatives, blocking non-citizens and certain individuals who were previously convicted of felonies from participation. The groups are also barred from maintaining basic details associated with individual voters once their interactions around getting registered end, meaning efforts to get out the vote, as it’s known, will be substantially hindered, even if the same groups of people served by such outreach about getting registered could also use the education and help in later casting their actual ballots.
Hanging onto those details for purposes such as getting out the vote is a felony under DeSantis’s new law. The new lawsuit bases its arguments in pieces of federal law including the 14th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act, the latter of which demands that assistance opportunities be made available for certain voters who need the help. “The plaintiffs request that a federal court block the defendants from enforcing the challenged provisions of S.B. 7050 and declare them in violation of the U.S. Constitution and federal law,” Democracy Docket noted. Read more at this link.