District court judge blocks Florida election law

On July 3, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida issued a preliminary injunction blocking S7050, a Florida law making a variety of changes to the state’s elections, including regulating third-party voter registration organizations.

The bill requires these organizations to provide a receipt to each applicant when accepting their application, prohibits an organization from using pre-filled applications or using a voter’s personal information for any purpose other than registration, and increases the penalties for violations. The bill also requires any person handling voter registration applications for a third-party organization to be a U.S. citizen and not have been convicted of a felony.

Plaintiffs in the case argued that these restrictions on voter registration organizations are unconstitutional. In the court’s ruling, Judge Mark Walker, who was appointed by President Barack Obama (D), said, “Florida may, of course, regulate elections, including the voter registration process. Here, however, the challenged provisions exemplify something Florida has struggled with in recent years; namely, governing within the bounds set by the United States Constitution.” ACLU of Florida Legal Director Daniel Talley said, “While this is a step in the right direction, our work is not finished. People in our communities, including noncitizens, work tirelessly to assist in voter registration efforts to empower Floridians to vote on issues that impact their daily lives.” Rep. Lawrence McClure (R), a supporter of the bill, said, “This is a bill that’s about efficiency. It’s about protecting the Florida voter and making sure that we continue to have successful elections.”

If appealed, the case will go before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals