Judge Strikes Down Florida Election Law Regarding Noncitizens

(USNewsMag.com) – A portion of Florida’s new election law has been blocked after a July 3 ruling by a federal judge.

The new election law sought to ban the handling or collection of voter registration forms by noncitizens as well as those convicted of certain felonies. The legislation provided up to $50,000 for each ineligible person found collecting voter registration forms. The ruling states that individual rights can’t be restricted by Florida, saying the state showed no proof it was necessary to restrict individual rights.

The ruling also blocks the part of the new election law that sought to ban third-party voter registration groups that register new voters from retaining the personal information collected.

In issuing the preliminary injunction, the U.S. Judge for the Northern District of Florida, Mark Walker, wrote in the 58-page decision that while Florida is right in seeking “integrity” in its elections, the solutions are “too far removed from the problems” that the state used as justifications for the new election laws.

He also stated the case was based on Florida’s newest “assault on the right to vote.” Walker, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, noted that the decision is not yet final.

Both the Florida chapter of the NAACP and other voter registration groups sued Florida over certain provisions in the new elections bill signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in May.

Those who support the legislation say it helps secure elections, while those who oppose it say it makes it more difficult to register voters in marginalized communities.

This is not the first time Walker has blocked efforts by DeSantis to change Florida’s election law. In March 2022, a 288-page decision was issued by Walker blocking parts of a 2021 election law. However, most of Walker’s ruling was overturned earlier in 2023 by a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Copyright 2023, USNewsMag.com