Today, a coalition of racial justice organizations filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida against Governor Ron DeSantis and Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee for refusing to make reasonable voting accommodations for Floridians impacted by COVID-19. In a motion submitted by Dream Defenders, New Florida Majority, Organize Florida, Advancement Project National Office, Demos, and LatinoJustice PRLDEF plaintiffs allege the state’s failure to extend vote-by-mail deadlines, adjust early voting dates, and expand mail ballot transmission options amounts to a denial of critical voter opportunities in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The state’s refusal to take reasonable emergency election measures will prevent Floridians from participating in Tuesday’s Presidential Primary elections.
Orlando, FL – In the midst of early voting for the Florida Presidential Preference Primary, legal and community organizations are reminding voters and county representatives that Spanish-language ballots, signage, assistance and related materials are required in 32 counties because of U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mark Walker’s preliminary injunctive order in Madera v. Lee. The preliminary injunction is a result of the August 2018 lawsuit filed by LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Demos, SEIU and Altshuler Berzon LLP on behalf of civic engagement groups Faith in Florida, Hispanic Federation, Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, UnidosUS, and Vamos4PR, and individual voter Marta Rivera Madera, a Puerto Rican, Spanish-speaking voter.
Orlando, FL - Earlier today, the federal Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit upheld a Florida federal judge’s 2019 decision enjoining restrictions passed by the Florida legislature last year that sought to impose additional limitations to Amendment 4. Amendment 4 was passed overwhelmingly by Florida voters in November 2018 and permits formerly incarcerated individuals to register to vote. The court’s decision found that it is unconstitutional to force the named plaintiffs, persons with prior criminal convictions and released from prison, to first pay off their financial obligations before registering because of their inability to pay their fines.
CONTACT: Christiaan Perez, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, email@example.com, 212-739-7581
Orlando, FL – This weekend, Governor DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 7066 which was passed by the Florida Legislature to override the will of the people and impose a fines and fees requirement to block people from having their right to vote restored. Below is a statement by Esperanza Segarra, Senior Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF:
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ proposed rule requiring Spanish-language official ballots throughout the state, which is the direct result of legal pressure, is commendable. However, the governor’s proposed rules are short on details and will not take effect until too far in the future. The law is clear: robust bilingual elections assistance is required. The state needs to comply with its obligations under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.