Republican efforts to restrict voting rights come in a variety of forms. Some of the most notable efforts involve onerous voter-ID laws and closing early-voting windows.
But in Florida, GOP officials have also placed sweeping restrictions on voter-registration drives. As Laura explained overnight, new Republican-imposed rules have made it almost impossible for progressive groups to register new Democratic voters. This isn’t an accident.
And according to a federal court this morning, the law is simply unacceptable.
A federal judge said Wednesday he would permanently remove harsh restrictions on third-party voter registration groups that have handicapped registration efforts in Florida this year. U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle said he would grant a motion to permanently remove the restrictions once he receives confirmation that a federal appeals court has dismissed the case (the state of Florida has agreed to dismiss their appeal).
The suit was originally filed back in December by the League of Women Voters of Florida, Rock the Vote, and the Florida Public Interest Research Group Education Fund. The Justice Department opposed the restrictions in a separate lawsuit.
What’s less clear if the move will be too late. Laura noted in her piece that when a court blocked enforcement of the law in May, registration numbers soared in June and July. Today’s announcement is heartening, but time is obviously running out before Election Day, and groups that hope to register tens of thousands of voters will have a limited window of opportunity.
Still, the Brennan Center called this a “decisive victory,” and Deirdre Macnab, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida said, “Thanks to today’s ruling, we can finally put these roadblocks behind us and concentrate on getting Floridians registered to vote.”