State of Florida

Florida Omnibus Voter Suppression Law Challenge (NAACP)

Florida State Conference of Branches and Youth Units of the NAACP v. Byrd

Lawsuit filed on behalf of the Florida State Conference of Branches and Youth Units of the NAACP, Equal Ground Education Fund, Voters of Tomorrow, Disability Rights Florida, Alianza for Progress, Alianza Center, UnidosUS and Florida Alliance for Retired Americans against Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd (R), Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) and Florida’s 67 county supervisors of elections. The plaintiffs challenge omnibus voter suppression law, Senate Bill 7050, that among many anti-voting provisions, imposes restrictions and penalties on third-party voter registration organizations (3PVROs) that seek to register eligible Floridians to vote and puts limitations on voter assistance options for requesting a mail-in ballot.

The complaint alleges that S.B. 7050 targets 3PVROs and attempts to curtail their voter registration and engagement activities by 1) imposing a fine for late-returned voter registration applications or applications accidentally submitted to the wrong county by 3PVROs 2) barring noncitizen volunteers and individuals with certain prior felony convictions from conducting voter registration activities on behalf of 3PRVOs and 3) criminalizing routine retention of voter information for any purpose except voter registration, thus making it a felony to retain voter information for other activities such as get-out-the-vote. 

The complaint underscores that Black and Latinx voters are most likely to be harmed by S.B. 7050’s restrictions, especially given that “people of color are five times more likely than white Floridians to register with the assistance of a 3PVRO.” The plaintiffs claim that the challenged provisions of S.B. 7050 related to 3PVROs violate the First and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

Additionally, the plaintiffs challenge a provision of S.B. 7050 that only allows county supervisors to accept requests for mail-in ballots from voters or their immediate family members; prior to S.B. 7050, “Floridians could depend on trusted friends, neighbors, community organizations, and caregivers to request a vote-by-mail ballot.” In turn, the plaintiffs argue that voters with disabilities as well as young and limited-English voters will be disproportionately affected by S.B. 7050 limitation on voter assistance for requesting mail-in ballots. The plaintiffs claim that S.B. 7050’s restriction on mail-in ballot request assistance violates Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act, which provides for voter assistance opportunities. The plaintiffs request that the 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.

On July 3, 2023, a federal judge temporarily blocked the provision of S.B. 7050 that bars noncitizens from registering voters as well as the provision that bans retention of voter information. On July 11, the Florida secretary of state and attorney general appealed this decision to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

On March 5, 2024, the judge granted in part the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and permanently blocked the Florida secretary of state from enforcing a provision of S.B. 7050 that bars noncitizens from collecting or handling voter registration applications on behalf of 3PVROs. The judge held that the provision violates the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

STATUS: Trial began in this case on April 1, 2024. A post-trial decision is pending as well as a ruling from the 11th Circuit on the state’s appeal of the preliminary injunction that blocked certain aspects of S.B. 7050.

Case Documents (district court)

Case Documents (11th circuit)

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