Appellate court reinstates Florida’s controversial election law

11th us circuit court of appeals
A stay means a ruling on the law won't affect the Midterm Elections.

An appellate court temporarily reinstated portions of a Florida election law deemed unconstitutional by a lower court.

In March, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mark Walker found parts of a 2021 state law to be unconstitutional. The state of Florida last month appealed that ruling, which struck down parts of the law including a prohibition on engaging voters in line at polls.

A three-judge panel with the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, though, cited the Purcell principle prohibiting significant changes to election law too close to an election. The same principle may stop federal judges from tossing a congressional map signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis which is being challenged in court before the Midterm Elections.

That means there won’t be any changes to the 2021 law as passed before this year’s Primary and General Election.

“The district court below failed to contend with any of the ‘plainly legitimate’ applications of the Solicitation Provision, and thereby arguably failed to balance its legitimate applications against its potentially unconstitutional applications,” the appellate court ordered.

Ultimately, a three-judge panel concluded that the state of Florida at the very least has a case that the law will stand on appeal.

That doesn’t guarantee Walker’s ruling will be overturned, but it does mean the state must enforce the law as written while the case makes its way through court.

“In the circumstances of this case, and accounting for the fact that our review is governed by Purcell, we conclude that the state is entitled to a stay pending appeal,” a court order states.

Democratic attorney Marc Elias expressed confidence opponents of the law will eventually prevail.

“While this is disappointing, this was a procedural loss based on the timing before the midterm,” Elias tweeted. “And one of the provisions we successfully challenged was repealed by the legislature as a result. We will continue the fight for full relief for 2024.”

Walker in his decision ordered a halt to multiple provisions of the law. Those included a “line-warming” ban that stopped campaign volunteers from interacting with voters in lines that stretched far off from polling locations.

The original decision tossed restrictions on election officials employing drop boxes for votes cast ahead of an election.

Walker also wanted Florida to face pre-clearance requirements for the next decade on certain election laws.

The Walker ruling also stopped restrictions on third-party voter registration efforts but those were repealed by the Legislature and went unaddressed in the appellate court order.

The League of Women Voters and other plaintiffs had argued in a complaint against the state those provisions of the law were discriminatory based on race.

Walker was appointed to the bench by Democratic President Barack Obama in 2012, while the three judges who issued the appellate court order — Andrew Brasher, Barbara Lagoa and Kevin Newsom — were all appointed by Republican President Donald Trump. Lagoa previously served on the Florida Supreme Court, where she had been appointed by DeSantis.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


15 comments

  • Harry kamalatoe

    May 6, 2022 at 1:36 pm

    Wonder how the leftwing activists feel now after having celebrating their victory last month.

    • Here’s how

      May 6, 2022 at 2:24 pm

      Like I can wait for all you republicans to die of old age already. Most of you are like 80. Sure is taking longer then I thought..

      • Harry kamalatoe

        May 6, 2022 at 2:31 pm

        y u so mad, bro??

        Gotta love the tolerant left :’D lol !!

        Also if you are waiting for me to die of old age in my 80’s you have a good 45+ years of holding your breath for that to happen.

        • Patient man

          May 6, 2022 at 2:39 pm

          Oh I can wait.

          I just need enough of them to go not all Lol

          • And again

            May 6, 2022 at 2:42 pm

            And liberal tolerance is overrated.
            Like American institutions.
            They need a good leak every now and then.

          • TD

            May 7, 2022 at 2:36 pm

            Leftists grasping for the Demography is Destiny Kool-Aid, like they haven’t been doing it for the past 2 decades to cover for the unpopularity of their agenda. The tears of the inept white liberal D political class taste great as they watch those poll numbers showing Blacks and Hispanics fleeing in droves and begin to understand they will never be able to take credit for what they thought was inevitable if they could just sit around and virtue signal for a few more years. But keep telling us how you’ll get ’em next cycle!

          • Sure will

            May 8, 2022 at 2:00 am

            “Keep telling us how you’ll get ‘em the next cycle”

            I will as long as you keep trying to stop it from happening and only slowing it down lol

  • Tom

    May 6, 2022 at 10:23 pm

    Walker is incompetent! He’s hostile and sideways, In his flawed order, he said that any new legislative law must be approved by his court. Nice try.

    This stay will be upheld. Marc Elias will be indicted on the fake dossier and mueller probe.
    He’s a Hillary, Holder licker. Atrocious. Susmann will be convicted as well.

    America’s Gov gets last laugh!

  • PeterH

    May 7, 2022 at 11:20 am

    This appellate court has three Trump appointee’s. Two of the appointees are deemed “unqualified” by the American Bar Association.

    There are additional future cases addressing this miserable DeSantis dictate.

    • TD

      May 7, 2022 at 2:27 pm

      Keep toking on the hopium pipe.

      First, what the article and the law clearly establish is that Walker had no authority to enjoin the law so close to the election, regardless of the merits. Yet he did it anyways. You celebrate that lawlessness, but allege that those who correct it are “unqualified.” What is obvious to everyone is that it is just about getting the result you favor for your “side.” What next, “My body my choice?” Hypocrite.

      Second, again like numerous other sock puppets in FL with no understanding of civics, you call it a “DeSantis dictate” ignoring the fact that it was a DULY ENACTED BILL, PASSED BY THE LEGISLATURE, to AMEND AN EXISTING STATUTE, which is the exact opposite of a dictator ruling by decree. How many times do we have to beat it into your head?

      But by all means, keep telling us how “you’ll get ’em next time,” sport. The only getting is going to be by the Democratic lawyer/consultant/PR/grifter class whose only purpose is to keep getting paid while racking up the Ls.

    • Kenneth W. Minton

      May 7, 2022 at 7:54 pm

      The American Bar Association is pretty politically liberal and the individual(s) who graded Trumps nominees was an anti-Trumper.

      • Tom

        May 7, 2022 at 10:52 pm

        Peter h is a Lincoln Org advocate.
        He is a joke apologist, anti-trumper.
        The Dem, Dum Manchurians are brain dead. Peter h is a lackey. Don’t take anything he says seriously.

        America is wanting America’s Governor. He offers new generational leadership.

        Re-elect in Nov, after Tallahassee to WH Oval. DeSantis the best!

  • joey

    May 9, 2022 at 5:45 pm

    3 trump judges??? hummm . They rule like the supreme court then ask for pretection. LOL. If your rules are fair you will not need protection. GOP the “party of freedom” but want to control womans bodies. Next back to slaves? Schools just for whites?

    • tom

      May 10, 2022 at 8:33 am

      Chief Justice John Roberts said we don’t have Obama judges or Trump judges.

      • Tom

        May 11, 2022 at 10:00 pm

        Yeah fake moniker, pathetic moron.
        Real Tom here the legend!
        Roberts found out that the wolves are pounding on the door, typical Dem, Dums paid off by Soros Scum of the earth.

Comments are closed.


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