The ink wasn’t even dry on Senate Bill 90 when the NAACP and the League of Women Voters brought court challenges.
DeSantis signed the bill Thursday in Palm Beach, calling it “the strongest election integrity measures in the country.”
The statement echoes what supporters of the legislation said all Session long — the new law is necessary for election security. But people who oppose the new law say the changes will result in voter suppression.
The lawsuit from the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund argues parts of the new law are unconstitutional and it disproportionately affects Black voters.
“S.B. 90 represents a direct and swift backlash to Black voters’ historic turnout during the 2020 election season,” Zachery Morris, LDF Assistant Counsel, said. “The law’s suppressive and discriminatory provisions make it clear that the Florida Legislature’s goal is to erect additional hurdles to inhibit Florida voters, especially disabled voters, Black voters, and Latino voters, from accessing the ballot box. These efforts are shameful and they are not new. We cannot allow elected officials to suppress votes under the guise of election integrity.”
The League of Women Voters’ challenge maintains the new law is unconstitutional because it places restrictions on vote-by-mail drop boxes, restricts people from returning a vote-by-mail ballot for another voter, bans non-poll workers from handing out food and drinks to people waiting in line to vote and it includes new requirements that result in voters having to request a vote-by-mail ballot more frequently.
The group also said in a news release the new law directly impacts third party voter registration organizations, like the League, because it forces them to take certain steps that could discourage Floridians from registering to vote and, as a result, suppress voter turnout.
“The League of Women Voters of Florida has fought SB 90 since its introduction, and we’re continuing our fight now,” Patricia Brigham, President of the League of Women Voters of Florida, said. “The legislation has a deliberate and disproportionate impact on elderly voters, voters with disabilities, students and communities of color. It’s a despicable attempt by a one-party-ruled Legislature to choose who can vote in our state and who cannot. It’s undemocratic, unconstitutional, and un-American.”
The League said the Black Voters Matter Fund, Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, and several individual Florida voters are also part of the suit.
Attorneys representing plaintiffs are represented by King, Blackwell, Zehnder & Wermuth, P.A. and Perkins Coie LLP.
The challenges will not be a surprise to Gov. DeSantis. On the last day of Session, he said he expected the new laws to face court challenges.