WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida allowed four cases challenging provisions of Florida’s newly-passed voter suppression law, Senate Bill 90, to move forward. The suits were filed on behalf of a combination of voting and civil rights organizations and individual voters against the Florida secretary of state, Florida attorney general and county supervisors of elections. The cases challenge a combination of provisions in S.B. 90 including: drop box restrictions, a vote by mail repeat request requirement, a volunteer assistance ban on returning more than two mail-in ballots, a deceptive registration warning required for third-party voter registration organizations, vote by mail application restrictions and a line-warming ban.
Each case faced at least one motion to dismiss by either the Florida secretary of state or attorney general, each of which the court granted and denied in part. The court dismissed any claim challenging the volunteer assistance ban, finding that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue the named defendants. All other claims can proceed against some combination of the defendants, largely depending on who is responsible for enforcing the challenged provision. For example, the line-warming ban will only be enforced by the county supervisors, so the court held that the plaintiffs do not have standing to sue the secretary of state and attorney general over it and the claim will move forward only against the county supervisors.
In particular, the court ordered the state’s county election supervisors to actively participate in two cases, League of Women Voters of Florida v. Lee and Disability Rights Florida v. Lee, where a claim is directly connected to them. This is of note as the supervisors had previously requested to be excused from actively participating in the cases, meaning only the Florida secretary of state and attorney general would defend the challenged provisions, but they now must choose to either “default or defend” the challenged provisions.
Each order can be found here:
League of Women Voters of Florida v. Lee