State of Florida

Florida Wet Signature Challenge v. Byrd

Lawsuit filed on behalf of, the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans and the Florida State Conference of the NAACP against Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd (R) and 67 county supervisors of elections challenging Florida’s “wet signature” requirement. Florida requires individuals registering to vote to submit their voter registration application with an “original signature.” The plaintiffs argue that the defendants have interpreted “original signature” to mean signed using “wet ink” (pen on paper) and therefore county supervisors have rejected applications received via email or fax or those submitted with an electronic signature. The plaintiffs allege that this wet signature requirement violates the Materiality Provision of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits denying “the right of any individual to vote in any election because of an error or omission…if such error or omission is not material in determining whether such individual is qualified under State law to vote in such election.” The plaintiffs contend that the “method of signing a voter registration application bears no relation to the statutory qualifications and does not serve any purpose for which a digital or electronic signature would not suffice, as evidenced by the fact that Defendants accept electronic and digital signatures from some, but not all, Floridians.” The plaintiffs request that the court declare that Florida’s wet signature requirement violates the Materiality Provision of the Civil Rights Act and that the defendants be prevented from implementing or enforcing the wet signature requirement.  

On Oct. 30, 2023, the court granted the Florida secretary of state, Republican intervenors and certain county supervisors of elections’ motions to dismiss. On Nov. 8, 2023, the court dismissed the remaining defendants, thereby ending the case. On Nov. 9, the plaintiffs appealed the dismissal to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Litigation is ongoing.

STATUS: The plaintiffs appealed the district court’s dismissal of the case to 11th Circuit where litigation is ongoing.

Case Documents (district court)

Case Documents (11th circuit)

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