On Thursday, a U.S. federal court struck down multiple key provisions of Florida’s Senate Bill 90 that equated to voter suppression.
Chief U.S. District Judge Mark E. Walker ruled that 2021 Florida Senate Bill 90 violates federal law, by unconstitutionally impeding the federally protected right to vote for Floridians.The Judge stated that “the right to vote, and the Voting Rights Act particularly, are under siege.”
Florida Democratic Party Chairman Manny Diaz said “”The federal Court’s decision today confirmed what Democrats have been saying all along: SB90 is a discriminatory voter suppression bill. Instead of governing, Ron DeSantis and Republicans in the Legislature spent two years passing unconstitutional and discriminatory laws that were destined to be struck down by the courts. Add this to the long line of legal defeats that Florida Republicans have been dealt all while Florida taxpayers continue to foot the bill for their refusal to do their jobs.”
“For democracy to work, it must include all voices. A federal judge has ruled that the Florida legislature has engaged in decades of intentional discrimination against Black voters with a series of voting laws like Senate Bill 90,” said Cecile Scoon, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida, one of the plantiffs in the lawsuit that struck down the law. “Senate Bill 90 was clearly an anti-voter measure that raised barriers to voting for marginalized groups with specific impacts on elderly voters, voters with disabilities, students and communities of color. The League is gratified that once again the constitutional rights of all of Florida’s voters have superseded partisan politics and that the targeted attack on Black voters will be stopped.”
Florida’s Senate Bill 90 imposed limits on voter registration, mail-in voting, and vote-by-mail drop boxes. It was passed in 2021 and signed into law by Governor DeSantis.
“Today’s ruling affirms voters’ rights to fair access to and participation at the polls,” said Celina Stewart, chief counsel and senior director of advocacy and litigation at the League of Women Voters of the United States. “Florida’s Senate Bill 90 was one of the most egregious anti-voter laws in the country. And it was aimed squarely at Black voters, voters with disabilities and voters with limited income. State legislatures everywhere should recognize that anti-voter laws like Senate Bill 90 violate the fundamental rights of their constituents. We call on legislatures around the country to stop making laws that impede the rights of the people they are elected to protect and serve.”
Walker’s ruling blocks provisions including stringent restrictions on third-party voter registration drives, limits on access to ballot drop boxes and a criminal portion of the law which bars anyone from helping voters who are waiting in line to vote.