17 Democratic state AGs back challenge to Florida voting limits

A group of 17 Democratic state attorneys general have thrown their weight behind court challenges aimed at Florida’s restrictive, GOP-crafted voting law, saying the measure threatens to suppress the vote of minorities.

Led by the District of Columbia and New York, the group filed friend of the court briefs in a trio of federal lawsuits that claim Florida’s SB 90 illegally restricts access to the ballot box. 

“Florida’s discriminatory law is another attempt to make it harder for some in the state to vote, especially voters of color,” DC Attorney General Karl Racine said in a statement. “The myth of voter fraud has been debunked countless times, yet we continue to see states creating laws based on false claims to uphold this lie for political reasons. In reality, these election laws that supposedly prevent and eliminate voter fraud instead simply encourage voter suppression.” 

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Florida’s controversial SB 90 drew immediate lawsuits upon being signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisDemocrats walk out of confirmation hearing for Florida surgeon general Biden trails generic Republican in new poll, would face tight race against Trump Overnight Health Care — Senators unveil pandemic prep overhaul MORE (R) in May after Florida Republicans passed the measure on near party-line votes.

Among the limits imposed by the Florida measure are new restrictions on the use of absentee ballot drop boxes, additional requirements on voters seeking alternatives to in-person voting and a ban on members of the public distributing food or water to those waiting in line to vote. 

GOP proponents argue the new restrictions are needed to ensure election integrity and bolster voter confidence. Critics, however, deride the measures as a pretext for suppressing likely Democratic voters, including racial minorities, using former President TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Korea conducts potential 6th missile test in a month Kemp leading Perdue in Georgia gubernatorial primary: poll US ranked 27th least corrupt country in the world MORE’s repeated lies about the 2020 election being subject to widespread fraud as justification. 

In court papers, the Democratic states said their experience in administering elections with broad access to vote-by-mail and drop boxes shows that the franchise can be expanded without risk to election security. 

The blue state attorneys general have asked the court to reject Florida’s claim for summary judgment in the litigation. In addition to D.C. and New York, the other signatories to the filings, also known as "amici," are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. 

“Florida’s claims of voter fraud and low voter confidence are unsupported by the record, undermined by the Amici States’ experiences, and, in any event, insufficient to justify the burdens imposed,” they wrote.