Appeals Court Reinstates Florida Election Law

Staff Report
ATLANTA — On Friday, a panel of appellate judges reinstated key sections of a 2021 Florida election law. The ruling from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court that had found that the legislation intentionally discriminated against Black voters.

The ruling (click here to read) determined that the next statewide election is too soon for the courts to interfere with election laws, citing a precedent known as the Purcell principle.

Chief Judge Mark Walker of North Florida's U.S. District had issued a stay on sections of the law on March 31, which the appellate judges determined to be too close to the August 23 primary and while voter registration was already underway.

Walker had struck down sections of Senate Bill 90 requiring voters to request mail-in ballots more frequently, restricted the use of drop boxes, and changed requirements on what third-party voter registration organizations have to disclose.

The appellate court also found that the district judge had "failed to properly account for what might be called the presumption of legislative good faith." 

Cecile Scoon, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida, who, along with the Black Voters Matters Fund and Florida Alliance for Retired Americans had brought the original suit, issued the following statement after the ruling was issued.

"The district court heard the testimony of elections officials and legislators who admitted that they did in fact inquire how different communities voted," said Scoon. "The court found that legislators passed voting laws that specifically targeted ways that African Americans vote to make voting more difficult for them. The court reviewed several laws passed by the state legislature over the last twenty years and found that these actions were intentional discrimination and should be stopped. While the League of Women Voters of Florida and our partners in this case are disappointed that a stay has been granted, our fight is not over. It is more crucial than ever that we continue our charge to protect voting rights and ensure everyone, regardless of race, party, age or disabilities is represented in our democracy."

Reader Comments
MAY 08, 2022  •  Anyone who believes in “legislative good faith” clearly has not met our Florida legislature. Who continue to operate only on “what’s in this for me & my political agenda.” SMH & working to GOTV as we really need to clean house (& senate & governors mansion) in November.
MAY 08, 2022  •  "failed to properly account for what might be called the presumption of legislative good faith." Might? Rather, the alternative of "certainly determined as legislative bad faith" — also 'Shaking My Head'
Paul Finer
MAY 08, 2022  •  "legislative good faith"? SMH