Florida Voter Registration Drives Resume
The League of Women Voters and Rock The Vote will resume voter registration drives in Florida, less than one week after a federal judge issued a temporary injunction against the state of Florida for a 2011 law that imposed difficult timetables and the prospect of large fines on groups registering voters.
"As Judge Hinkle recognized, when organizations like LWVF and RTV conduct voter registration drives they are engaging in constitutionally protected activity that promotes democracy," said Lee Rowland, their attorney said Wednesday. "We are extremely pleased that the court's initial ruling allows our clients to restart those efforts."
In 2011, the GOP-controlled Florida legislature enacted a series of election reforms that more heavily regulated aspects of the voting process. The state imposed tougher rules and penalties for voter registration drives, toughened voter ID requirement to get a ballot, and said that people who moved across county lines needed to re-register--as opposed to having their voting information transferred electronically. The registration drive changes, which included quick deadlines to turn in forms with steep penalties for errors, were seen by the League and RTV as deterrents to registering voters.
Both groups ceased their efforts, but sued in federal court. Last week, a judge agreed with the League and RTV that the restrictions placed undue burdens on voter registration groups and temporarily stayed the law. While it is not yet known if the state will appeal, the court ruling allows the groups to resume registering voters before Florida's August congressional primaries.
Several of the 2011 law's other changes, most notably the tougher voter ID requirements, have not been cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice.