Court strikes down Florida Registration suppression law


Score two for the people of Florida, zero for Rick Scott and those who support his effort to suppress the vote.

A big thanks to League of Women Voters of Florida, Florida Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, and Rock the Vote, who sought and won a temporary injunction forbidding the Scott regime from suppressing voter registration efforts.


The Department of Justice informed Scott’s Secretary of State, that their voter purge violates the National Voter Registration Act on several grounds.

Yesterday,  the U.S. District Court ordered a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of amendments to Florida Statute § 97.0575,  which pertains to voter registration and the implementing Rule 1S-2.042,

This is a significant ruling in several ways.  It is the first court ruling that addresses the ALEC inspired voter suppression laws that Republican controlled states have implemented. It means that while this is a temporary measure, Scott’s law restricting voter registration cannot be implemented, effective immediately.  It also means the court believes that the plaintiffs in this case are ultimately likely to succeed in proving their claim that this law violates the constitution.  While this is not a done deal, yet, it is very encouraging news for those of us who believe in the very American value that citizens of the United States have a constitutional right to vote.

The plaintiffs sought the injunction on the basis that this law violates the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA ) and the Constitution.

While the court was not prepared to accept that this law violates the NVRA, its comments on the constitutional issues are nothing short of damning. The Court reflects on how Scott’s law violates constitutional provisions guaranteeing voting rights and the first amendment.

The assertion that the challenged provisions implicate no constitutional rights is plainly wrong. The plaintiffs wish to speak, encouraging others to register to vote, and some of the challenged provisions—for example, the requirement to disclose in advance the identity of an employee or volunteer who will do nothing more than speak—regulate pure speech. This is core First Amendment activity.

More importantly, the plaintiffs wish to assist others with the process of registering and thus, in due course, voting. Voting is a right protected by several constitutional provisions; state election codes thus are subject to constitutional scrutiny. Together speech and voting are constitutional rights of special significance; they are the rights most protective of all others, joined in this respect by the ability to vindicate one’s rights in a federal court.


The DOJ also had a message for the Scott regime.  Talking Points Memo reports that the DOJ sent Florida’s Secretary of State a letter informing him that the Scott Purge program violates the National Voter Registration on several grounds including: “voter roll maintenance should have ceased 90 days before an election, which given Florida’s August 14 primary, meant May 16.”

TPM Docs: DOJ Demands Florida Stop Voter Purge

As noted by Think Progress,  Scott’s series of voter suppression laws have had a chilling effect on minorities.

Voters have already begun to experience the effects of new anti-voting laws. Minority voter registration is down significantly from the 2008 election. Among Latinos nationwide, voter registration has dropped five percent; for blacks, registration rates are down seven percent.

It was obvious from the beginning that this was never about rectifying the statistically non-existent problem of voter fraud.  Rather, it amounts to an admission by the Republican Party that it cannot win elections on the merit of their policies.

Image from Daily Marion

7 Replies to “Court strikes down Florida Registration suppression law”

  1. The court should also order the state of Florida to send out new letters telling these folks that they are STILL eligible to vote!

  2. Thank you for your coverage, Ms. Woodbury, as well as your clear and usable references. I intend to follow up directly I get to our little pocket-sized law library, which is, however, hooked up to Westlaw.

  3. DOJ acts through their district courts to uphold the laws. Lest anyone think this is not a direct impact from AG Holder, think again. The DOJ asked Scott to cease and desist (notification is always good even to slimeballs), and when he did not, the US Attorney in that district moved the court that ruled FL had to stop.

    Good work, AG Holder, US Attorney, judge.

    Courts always start with a TRO. Then there is a trial. Then the injunction, evidence upholding, can be made permanent. This is not over, and it’s going to be fun to watch the state of FL try to explain why it disenfranchised voters of long standing, why it used illegal phony signatures to challenge voters, and why it’s NOT using due process in these acts of outrageous disenfranchisement. I hope it’s televised (federal hearings and trials usually are NOT) because for me, this is THE issue of our day.

  4. It’s true that US District Court proceedings are not televised, but they are always fully transcripted and the rulings of any significant case are eventually in FSupp. They are available a great deal sooner if you go online at your local law library. Furthermore, such trials are open to the press, including sketch artists and stenographers, and the public.

  5. I could be wrong but it seems to me that Mr. Scott was slammed down on the pee test as well. It’s apparent that the Republican cause may not work as well as they thought. If Florida’s laws can be proven unconstitutional, then laws and all of these states can be proved unconstitutional.

    It seems to me that people would see what’s going on and vote these people out but I’m afraid that party over reality is the new reality. Take my rights please

  6. I just read an emailed notice that Scott and his accomplices are not going to obey the Feds.

    If that’s true, it’s going to get REAL interesting in this state.

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