Florida Judge Allows Voter Suppression Claims to Move Forward
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida ruled on multiple summary judgment motions filed in League of Women Voters of Florida v. Lee, a case challenging Florida’s new voter suppression law Senate Bill 90. After the court denied motions to fully dismiss the case earlier this fall, both the plaintiffs and different groups of defendants filed motions for summary judgment on different claims. As a reminder, a motion for summary judgment is when one party asks the judge to rule on a portion or all of a case without a full trial by arguing and presenting evidence that their side is right. If granted, the judge will enter judgment in favor of one party and against the other party.
As the judge summarized, the “Defendants move for summary judgment on all claims, asserting Plaintiffs lack standing to challenge these laws, and in the alternative, that no dispute of material fact exists as to each claim, and that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” The judge held that the plaintiffs had demonstrated individual and organizational injuries as a result of S.B. 90 and therefore they “have standing to proceed at the summary judgment stage.” The judge granted the Florida secretary of state’s motion for summary judgment regarding the plaintiffs’ assertion that the banning of food and water to voters waiting in line is always unconstitutional, meaning that specific claim will no longer be litigated. The plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment (regarding the deceptive warning third-party organizations must give when registering voters and the line-warming ban) was denied. This means that, with the exception of the one claim for which judgment was entered, all of the plaintiffs’ claims will proceed to trial and the judge will determine the validity of the arguments there.