State Watch

Democratic super PAC sues Florida officials over mail-in voting limits

Florida officials were sued by a Democratic Super PAC Monday over laws that could limit mail-in voting for the presidential election in a pivotal swing state in the 2020 White House race.

The suit was filed in a joint legal challenge with Priorities USA, Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, and some individuals to counter terms they say could limit voter turnout from mail or absentee ballots in November due to the coronavirus, according to Politico.

The lawsuit reportedly named several Republican officials as defendants, such as Gov. Ron DeSantis, Secretary of State Laurel Lee, Attorney General Ashley Moody, along with some Florida election officials.

The state is an important one in the November presidential election. President Trump narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton there in 2016 by just 1.2 percent of the vote. Some recent polling has shown presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden with a narrow lead over Trump in the Sunshine State.

The lawsuit complains that due to the coronavirus, mail-in, and absentee voting is an essential avenue for many voters to consider when deciding how to cast their ballots, adding that currents laws create blockades that could violate voters’ rights in the state, Politico reported.

The complaint questions the constitutionality of Florida’s Election Day receipt deadline for ballots received by mail, claiming that any ballot postmarked by November 3 should be accepted.

The case also mentions that postage needed for mailed ballots would be considered a poll tax, along with concerns that a current voter assistance ban restricts the right of association and free speech, according to the report. 

Priorities USA Chairman Guy Cecil said in a written statement to Politico, “No Floridian should ever be forced to choose between their health and exercising their right to vote.” He added that “Our country faces a once in a lifetime health crisis, local and state leaders need to make sure that every Florida voter has full, equal, and safe access to the ballot box in November.”

The state has already received one other federal complaint requesting a change to voting rules during the March presidential preference primary, but that was pushed back by a federal judge, the report said.

Georgia, along with 15 other state primary elections have been postponed or changed to vote-by-mail as a result of the deadly virus.

Johns Hopkins University data confirmed Florida has reported a culmination of 36,897 coronavirus cases and 1,423 deaths amid the virus outbreak.

The Hill reached out to DeSantis’s communications office but has not immediately heard back.

Tags 2020 elections Absentee ballot Donald Trump Florida Hillary Clinton Joe Biden Lawsuit mail-in voting Postal voting Ron DeSantis

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