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Thursday, September 28, 2023

New Florida voting law challenged by civil rights groups | World News


A group of civil rights groups are challenging a new Florida voting law they claim violates the constitution by making it harder for blacks and Latinos to participate in the 2024 presidential election.

FILE PHOTO: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at the Florida Family Policy Council annual dinner in Orlando, Florida, U.S., May 20, 2023. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis visited the state before officially announcing his presidential bid on Wednesday. The story of his surprise re-election victory in sprawling, mostly Hispanic Miami-Dade County last year was an eye-opener for viewers. REUTERS/Marco Bello/File Photo (Reuters)

The law, championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, has unlawfully limited assistance to hundreds of thousands of Florida residents since 2018, according to two lawsuits filed Wednesday and Thursday in Tallahassee federal court. Activities of registered third-party voter registration groups.

The groups said the law would curb their activity by imposing stiff fines for late registration applications and prohibiting non-citizen volunteers from processing applications. It also criminalizes “routine voter information retention,” according to the lawsuit.

People of color are five times more likely than white Florida residents to register to vote with the help of third-party organizations, the groups said in one of the complaints, adding that there is “no question which Floridians will be affected by these efforts.” maximum”

DeSantis signed the statute into law on Wednesday, the same day he formally announced his plan to challenge Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in the 2024 election. Republicans have been passing similar laws across the country aimed at preventing election fraud, while critics say they are aimed at making it harder for Democrats to vote.

The governor’s office did not respond to a message seeking comment.

The lawsuit names dozens of county election officials, as well as Florida Secretary of State Cord Bird and the state’s Attorney General Ashley Moody.

“We were not served,” Moody’s spokeswoman Kelly Mason said in an email. Bird’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

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The complaints, backed by the ACLU and the Democrat-aligned Elias Law Group LLP, claim the law, known as Senate Bill 7050, violates First Amendment rights to free speech, association and federal voting rights laws.

The case is Florida NAACP Affiliates and Youth Units Conference v. Byrd, 4:23-cv-00215, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida (Tallahassee).


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