Statement: Florida Ruling Blocking Strict Voter Registration Law a Victory for VotersRelease Date: May 31, 2012, 4:25 pm
Fair Elections Legal Network Applauds Decision to Halt Law That Makes Voting More Difficult in Florida
Washington, DC – Today, Federal District Judge Robert Hinkle issued a preliminary injunction in a challenge brought by the League of Women Voters of Florida, Florida Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, and Rock the Vote to a Florida law passed last year that places onerous restrictions on community and civic groups, as well as teachers, that conduct voter registration drives. His ruling bars enforcement of the provisions in the law associated with conducting voter registration drives. All other provisions in the law remain intact.
Judge Hinkle, in his ruling, stated, “[t]he statute and rule impose a harsh and impractical 48-hour deadline for an organization to deliver applications to a voter registration office and effectively prohibit an organization from mailing applications in. And the statute and rule impose burdensome record-keeping and reporting requirements that serve little if any purpose, thus rendering them unconstitutional…”
“Today’s ruling is a victory for voting rights in Florida. Judge Hinkel was correct in ruling the onerous requirements the Florida legislature placed on organizations like the League of Women Voters, that has registered hundreds of thousands of voters in Florida for over 70 years, is ‘harsh and impractical’. This law is likely the reason why new voter registrations are down significantly this year,” said Robert Brandon, President of the Fair Elections Legal Network. “This law also will make voting more difficult through shortening the early voting period by eliminating it the weekend before the election and limiting the ability of a voter to update their voter registration at the polls if they move to a different county. Instead of passing these restrictions, the legislature should focus on legislation that will increase voter participation in our elections.”
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The Fair Elections Legal Network (FELN) is a national, nonpartisan advocacy organization whose mission is to remove barriers to registration and voting for traditionally underrepresented constituencies and improve overall election administration through administrative, legal, and legislative reform.