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Voting Rights Groups Sue Florida Over New Voter Suppression Laws

The League of Women Voters of Florida, Black Voters Matter, and the Florida Alliance For Retired Americans filed a lawsuit challenging Senate Bill 90 just minutes after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the controversial new voting restrictions into law.

Several individual voters joined the organizations in their legal challenge of the voter suppression bill.

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund has separately filed a federal lawsuit against Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee, arguing Florida’s new law “greatly obstructs voting access.”

“He just signed in a bill for restrictions…to deal with a problem that doesn’t exist,” said Lakeland NAACP President Terry Coney.

Gov. DeSantis signed the legislation in an exclusive Fox News appearance at an event that was closed to local reporters.

While speaking on “Fox & Friends,” Florida’s governor reiterated that he believes the law is necessary to beef up enforcement of voter ID rules, ban ballot harvesting and prohibit the mass-mailing of ballots.

The new law restricts dropbox use to a county’s early voting hours. People will no longer be allowed to drop off ballots 24/7. It also states that somebody has to be standing there in person to monitor each drop box location.

The legislation also expands the no-solicitation zone around polling places to 150 feet. In other words, nobody within that distance can try to solicit votes or distribute items like water.

Democratic lawmakers, who have been critical of SB 90, have argued voting changes might make it more difficult for seniors, people of color, and individuals with disabilities to vote.

“SB 90 represents a direct and swift backlash to Black voters’ historic turnout during the 2020 election season,” Zachery Morris, LDF assistant counsel, wrote in an announcement of the separate federal lawsuit against Secretary Lee. “The law’s suppressive and discriminatory provisions make it clear that the Florida Legislature’s goal is to erect additional hurdles to inhibit Florida voters, especially disabled voters, Black voters, and Latino voters, from accessing the ballot box. These efforts are shameful and they are not new. We cannot allow elected officials to suppress votes under the guise of election integrity.”

Senators who have pushed back against the bill questioned why changes needed to be made if DeSantis previously touted the security of the state’s last election. Earlier this year, Gov. Ron DeSantis called Florida’s elections the “most transparent and efficient election anywhere in the country.”

About RavenH

Raven Haywood is a journalist for 10+ years. Graduate from Howard University.

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