So no funny business is permitted in Florida elections under the law restricting ballot harvesting, dropboxes, and private money to run elections. Democrats are out of Zuck.
One year ago, Florida Governor Ron Desantis signed a voter integrity law that curtailed ballot harvesting, the use of drop boxes, and Zuck Bucks (private money to run election functions):
Today, Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 90, Florida’s new election integrity bill, strengthening voter identification, prohibiting the mass mailing of ballots, banning ballot harvesting and prohibiting private money from administering elections in our state.
On March 31 of this year, liberal District Court Judge Mark Walker issued an injunction halting several provisions, which ruling had little chance of surviving appeal, as the NY Times predicted:
A federal judge in Florida ruled on Thursday that sections of the state’s year-old election law were unconstitutional and racially motivated, and barred the state from making similar changes to its laws in the next decade without the approval of the federal government.
The sharply worded 288-page order, issued by Judge Mark E. Walker of the Federal District Court in Tallahassee, was the first time a federal court had struck down major elements of the wave of voting laws enacted by Republicans since the 2020 election. Finding a pattern of racial bias, Walker in his ruling relied on a little-used legal provision to impose unusual federal restrictions on how a state legislates.
“For the past 20 years, the majority in the Florida Legislature has attacked the voting rights of its Black constituents,” Walker wrote in the decision, which frequently quoted the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Walker argued that the attacks were “part of a cynical effort to suppress turnout among their opponents’ supporters. That, the law does not permit.”
Judge Walker’s decision is certain to be appealed and is likely to be overturned either by the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, which tends to lean conservative, or the Supreme Court, which has sharply limited the federal government’s power to intervene in state election law.
And Judge Walker’s ruling didn’t survive. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals just issued a stay pending appeal, which mean the law is back in full force and effect.
The ban on Zuck Bucks was not enjoined, but other provisions were. From the 11th Circuit Opinion:
The district court here permanently enjoined three provisions of Florida law governing elections in that state. It also subjected Florida to a “preclearance” regime whereby the state—for the next decade—must seek and receive the district court’s permission before it can enact or amend certain election laws. The state now asks us to stay that decision pending appeal. After careful consideration, we grant the state’s motion….
Florida’s governor signed Senate Bill 90 into law on May 6, 2021. Plaintiffs sued, challenging four of SB90’s provisions, three of which are relevant here: (1) a provision regulating the use of drop boxes for collecting ballots (the “Drop-Box Provision”), Fla. Stat. § 101.69(2)–(3); (2) a provision requiring third-party voter-registration organizations to deliver voter-registration applications to the county where an applicant resides within a proscribed period of time (the “Registration-Delivery Provision”) and specifying information that third-party voter-registration organizations must provide to would-be registrants (the “Registration-Disclaimer Provision”), Fla. Stat. § 97.0575(3)(a); and (3) a provision prohibiting the solicitation of voters within 150 feet of a drop box or polling place (the “Solicitation Provision”), Fla. Stat. § 102.031(4)(a)–(b).2
First, the Court of Appeals ruled that the injunction was too close to the election:
When the district court here issued its injunction, voting in the next statewide election was set to begin in less than four months (and local elections were ongoing). Moreover, the district court’s injunction implicates voter registration—which is currently underway—and purports to require the state to take action now, such as re-training poll workers. And although the district court satisfied itself that its injunction—including the requirement that the state preclear new voting rules—was not too draconian, we are reminded that “[e]ven seemingly innocuous late-inthe-day judicial alterations to state election laws can interfere with administration of an election and cause unanticipated consequences.” Democratic Nat’l Comm. v. Wis. State Legislature, 141
S. Ct. 28, 31 (2020) (Kavanaugh, J., concurral)….
Next, the Court of Appeals found that given the heightened scrutiny so close to an election, Florida was likely to succeed on the merits:
… we hold that the state is entitled to a stay of the district court’s order enjoining the operation of SB90’s Drop-Box, Registration-Delivery, and Solicitation Provisions and subjecting Florida to preclearance. The district court’s determination regarding the legislature’s intentional discrimination suffers from at least two flaws, either of which justifies a stay. And, although we think it presents a closer question, we hold that the district court’s determination that the Solicitation Provision is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad is sufficiently vulnerable to warrant a stay….
So no funny business is permitted in Florida elections. Democrats are out of Zuck.DONATE
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