League Takes Legal Action on New Elections Bill

By: League of Women Voters of Florida Release
By: League of Women Voters of Florida Release

The League of Women Voters of Florida, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For more information on the League, visit www.TheFloridaVoter.org.

Tallahassee, FL - September 12, 2011 -

Today, the League of Women Voters of Florida and Democracia USA, represented by the Brennan Center for Justice, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and pro bono attorneys from the law firm of Bryan Cave, filed a motion to intervene in the State of Florida's lawsuit against the Department of Justice over the state's new elections law. Since the state withdrew the four most contentious sections of the law from DOJ review last month, a federal court must now decide whether or not to "preclear" the law under the National Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The League has advocated against preclearance, arguing that Florida's new law will reduce opportunities for voting and unlawfully restrict voter registration, disproportionately affecting Florida's minority population.

According to League President Deirdre Macnab, "when the state of Florida decided to submit sections of HB 1355 to a federal court in Washington, D.C. for review, we were determined to have the League's concerns heard. We want to ensure that the court hears evidence that this law, if precleared, will have a very real and harmful impact on Florida's voters and, in particular, its minority voters."

LWVF Executive Director Jessica Lowe-Minor elaborates, "the sections of this law that we believe will suppress voter participation are the ones the state now wants a court to approve. We believe the court will agree with us that this law is unfair to voters, serves no legitimate purpose, and disproportionately impacts minorities. The state's decision to pull these provisions from the Department of Justice and instead pursue a lengthy, expensive lawsuit shows just how problematic these provisions are. Although we feel confident that the law will eventually be overturned, this lawsuit creates unnecessary delays for voters and unnecessary costs for Florida taxpayers."

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