The League of Women Voters is proudly nonpartisan, neither supporting nor opposing candidates or political parties at any level of government.

Press Release » LEAGUE VICTORY: Judge Permanently Blocks Part of Florida’s Restrictive Voting Law Targeting Nonpartisan Florida Voter Registration Groups 

LEAGUE VICTORY: Judge Permanently Blocks Part of Florida’s Restrictive Voting Law Targeting Nonpartisan Florida Voter Registration Groups 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, a federal judge permanently blocked a severely restrictive provision of Florida’s anti-voter law, Senate Bill 7050, that targeted nonpartisan civic engagement groups with substantial fines if noncitizens – including legal permanent residents – helped with nonpartisan voter registration drives.

The order comes weeks after trial in LWVFL v. Moody, a case challenging Senate Bill 7050’s severe restrictions on voter registration. Last year, three sets of plaintiffs, including the League of Women Voters of Florida (LWVFL), the Florida State Conference of the NAACP, Hispanic Federation, and Poder Latinx, challenged the law. Campaign Legal Center represents LWVFL in its challenge to the law, which restricts and penalizes basic nonpartisan civic engagement efforts. 

Specifically, today’s order strikes down a portion of the law that punished those groups with a $50,000 fine each time a noncitizen volunteer helped with voter registration work. The state never gave a coherent reason for discriminating against noncitizens and, today, Chief Judge Mark Walker ruled that the provision violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

“Today’s ruling by Judge Walker permanently enjoining the citizenship restriction in Senate Bill 7050 is a significant victory for equal protection under the law,” said Cecile M. Scoon, Esq., co-president of the League of Women Voters of Florida.  “This favorable decision ensures that every person, regardless of citizenship status, can assist the League and other voting organizations in registering all citizens, some of whom may need to communicate more clearly in a language other than English. This ruling will enable all citizens to participate more fully in our democracy.”

“The permanent injunction against the citizenship restriction in Senate Bill 7050 marks a crucial step in safeguarding democracy in Florida,” said Debbie Chandler, Esq., co-president of the League of Women Voters of Florida. “The unfair limitations these provisions placed on immigrants hindered the essential work of League members and volunteers who assist voters in registering to vote across our state. This victory, achieved in partnership with the Hispanic Federation, reinforces our commitment to ensuring an accessible and equitable voting process for all citizens.”

“The court’s decision to permanently enjoin this undemocratic provision reminds us that a democracy is strongest when all residents are active,” said Celina Stewart, chief counsel at the League of Women Voters of the US. “Volunteer voter assistance has been at the heart of the League’s mission for over 100 years. We’re experts at supporting voter registration efforts and rely on the whole community to accomplish our mission, regardless of citizenship status.”

“We applaud today’s ruling, which strikes down one of Senate Bill 7050’s outrageous and problematic restrictions on Florida residents participating in basic democracy-building work that organizations like the League of Women Voters of Florida engage in every day,” said Brent Ferguson, senior legal counsel at Campaign Legal Center. “Folks helping their neighbors access and exercise their freedom to vote is one of the pillars of our democracy – and it’s something that we should encourage, not punish.”   

After today’s ruling, there remain undecided three provisions of Senate Bill 7050 challenged in this case. CLC and LWVFL are hopeful that the Court will also strike down the remaining provisions challenged in their suit.  

Learn more about the suit here.

###

Media Contact: Blake Summerlin – League of Women Voters of Florida: (772) 217-0772; blake@lwvfl.org

The League of Women Voters of Florida encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. The League of Women Voters of Florida Education Fund works to register voters, provide voters with election information through voter guides as well as candidate forums and debates.

NEWSROOM

latest post

TO FIND OUT MORE VISIT US ON FACEBOOK