WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, May 25, Hispanic Federation, Poder Latinx and four Florida residents filed a lawsuit challenging a portion of omnibus voter suppression law, Senate Bill 7050, which was signed into law yesterday by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
The plaintiffs specifically challenge a provision of S.B. 7050 that imposes restrictions on third-party voter registration organizations (3PVROs) — organizations that engage in community-based voter registration — and targets noncitizens who assist 3PRVOs with voter registration and engagement activities.
In particular, the plaintiffs allege that a provision of S.B. 7050 that prohibits noncitizen volunteers from conducting voter registration on behalf of 3PVROs — and imposes a $50,000 fine on 3PVROs that violate this portion of the law — contravenes the U.S. Constitution. “As a result of the Law, each of the individual plaintiffs will have their core political speech and association not just chilled — but prohibited,” the complaint reads.
“Put simply, SB 7050 classifies all non-citizens as untrustworthy based solely on their citizenship status, including non-citizens who have served in the U.S. military and are veterans,” the complaint adds. According to the plaintiffs, S.B. 7050 imposes restrictions on noncitizens despite the fact that “[n]o evidence of non-citizens mishandling voter registration applications was discussed during SB 7050’s two Senate committee hearings.”
The plaintiffs contend that the challenged provision pertaining to noncitizens is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad and also violates the right to free speech and association under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Additionally, the lawsuit argues that the provision violates the plaintiffs’ fundamental right to vote as well as the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause since “there is no compelling (or even rational) reason to exclude all noncitizens from handling and collecting voter registration applications.”
The complaint underscores the far-reaching impacts of the law, noting that it “will also impact and harm the communities and constituents that Hispanic Federation and Poder Latinx serve and work with, including both citizens and non-citizens.” Finally, the complaint argues that the provision contravenes noncitizens’ equal rights to contract under federal law.
The plaintiffs ask the court to block the challenged provision of S.B. 7050 pertaining to noncitizens’ involvement in 3PVROs and to declare it in violation of the U.S. Constitution and federal law.
This is the third lawsuit to be filed in federal court challenging S.B. 7050. Yesterday, other pro-voting organizations, including the Florida NAACP and League of Women Voters of Florida, filed lawsuits challenging the recently enacted omnibus anti-voting law.