In the Courts

Learn about the legal efforts shaping the fight to protect voting rights.
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Florida

Florida
Florida

Active Cases

Florida Voter Suppression Bill (FL Rising)

Florida Rising Together v. Lee

Lawsuit brought by Florida Rising Together, Faith in Florida, Unidosus, Equal Ground Education Fund, Hispanic Federation and Poder Latinx against Florida challenging the voter suppression law, SB 90. The case claims that SB 90’s drop-box restrictions, vote by mail repeat request requirement, line warming restriction and voter registration disclaimer violate the Section 2 of the VRA and the First, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments.

Active Cases

Florida Voter Suppression Bill (NAACP LDF)

Florida NAACP v. Lee

Lawsuit filed by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund on behalf of the Florida NAACP, Disability Rights Florida, and Common Cause challenging the voter suppression law, SB 90. The case claims that SB 90’s drop-box restrictions, ID requirements, food and water ban, and more violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Active Cases

Florida Voter Suppression Bill (LWV)

League of Women Voters of Florida v. Lee

Lawsuit brought by the League of Women Voters of Florida, Black Voters Matters Fund, Florida Alliance for Retired Americans and individual voters against all 67 Florida counties challenging the voter suppression law, SB 90. The case claims that SB 90’s drop-box restrictions, vote by mail repeat request requirement, volunteer assistance ban, deceptive registration warning and food and water ban violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Impact

Florida Signature Mismatch Cure

DNC v. Lee

Challenged Florida’s standardless process of rejecting mail-in and provisional ballots based on a perceived mismatch between the signature on the ballot and the signature in that voter’s registration record. After the district court granted a preliminary injunction and the Eleventh Circuit denied a stay of that injunction, Florida passed SB 7066, which, among other things, extends the deadline to cure vote-by-mail and provisional ballots to two days after the election; requires the Secretary of State to provide signature matching training to supervisors of elections and canvassing boards; and requires any signature mismatch determinations to be made by a majority of the canvassing board, subject to a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. SB 7066’s enactment mooted this litigation.

Impact

Florida State Legislative Redistricting

In re Senate Joint Resolution of Legislative Apportionment 1176

State constitutional challenge to Florida’s state legislative districts. In 2012, the Florida Legislature passed Joint Resolution 1176, apportioning the state into 120 State House and 40 State Senate districts. The Attorney General was required by the Florida Constitution to file a petition in the Florida Supreme Court seeking a declaratory judgment to determine the validity of the redistricting plans. We filed an opposition on behalf of the Florida Democratic Party based on the plans’ failure to abide by the new state constitutional prohibition on partisan gerrymandering. While the Florida Supreme Court found the Florida House of Representatives plan to be constitutionally valid, it struck down the Senate plan as “rife with objective indicators of improper intent.”

Impact

Florida Hurricane Matthew Registration Deadline Extension

Florida Democratic Party v. Scott

Successfully obtained court-ordered extension of deadlines for voter registration following Hurricane Matthew. After Hurricane Matthew slammed into Florida on October 6, 2016, causing significant destruction and power outages throughout the state, then-Governor Rick Scott refused to extend the voter registration deadline and the deadline for local election officials to designate early voting sites. We filed an emergency lawsuit seeking an immediate injunction, requiring Governor Scott to extend the voter registration and the early voting site-designation deadlines. The court granted our motion and issued our requested emergency injunction in full, which required the State to extend all relevant deadlines.

Impact

Florida Signature Match (2016)

Florida Democratic Party v. Detzner

Constitutional challenge to Florida’s vote-by-mail signature match law, which required election officials to reject a vote-by-mail ballot based a signature mismatch but failed to provide any opportunity to cure. We successfully obtained a preliminary injunction requiring the Florida Secretary of State to provide voters whose vote-by-mail ballots were rejected in the 2016 election based on an alleged signature mismatch an opportunity to cure. After this victory, the Florida Legislature amended the law to provide a statutory opportunity to cure vote-by-mail ballots.

Impact

Florida Congressional Redistricting

League of Women Voters of Florida v. Detzner

State constitutional challenge to Florida’s congressional districts. In 2010 a Fair Districts Amendment was added to the Florida Constitution with the stated purpose of prohibiting partisan gerrymandering. In 2012, the Florida Legislature passed a new congressional redistricting plan, which did exactly what the Fair Districts Amendment was designed to prevent. The trial court found the plan unconstitutional with respect to only two districts. The parties cross-appealed to the Florida Supreme Court, which affirmed the trial court’s finding of unconstitutional intent but reversed its final judgment because it had not gone far enough to require the Legislature to correct the constitutional deficiencies. On remand, the trial court adopted an expansive remedial map, which was upheld on appeal.

Impact

Florida Early Vote

League of Women Voters of Florida v. Lee

Lawsuit brought by the League of Women Voters of Florida, the Andrew Goodman Foundation and individual college students challenging the Florida Secretary of State’s restrictive interpretation of the state’s early voting statute to prohibit the placement of early voting sites on college campuses. The district court found that the Secretary’s interpretation violated the First, Fourteenth and Twenty-Sixth Amendments and issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the Secretary from enforcing the statute consistent with that interpretation. This ruling set an important precedent in voting rights cases challenging election procedures that intentionally discriminate against young voters. A settlement was reached in 2020 after the Secretary agreed to issue updated guidance allowing early voting sites on college campuses.

2019-2020 Election Cycle

Florida COVID-19 Election Relief

Neilsen v. DeSantis

Ahead of Florida’s August primary, we sued the state and all its 67 County Supervisors of Elections over vote by mail restrictions that unfairly burden elderly, low-income, and student voters. On behalf of Priorities USA, the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, Alianza for Progress, and individual voters, we challenged the State’s refusal to count ballots that are not received by 7:00 PM on Election Day, prohibition on paid organizers helping voters return their completed and sealed mail ballots, and lack of pre-paid postage for vote by mail ballots. All of these restrictions make it harder to vote by mail, and are exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.