A federal judge reluctantly dismissed allegations that significant provisions of a Florida elections law from 2021 were unconstitutional subsequent to its overturning by an appeals court.
An order was issued by Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker subsequent to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturning a ruling from the previous year that alleged the law discriminated against African American voters.
The appeals court in Atlanta remanded the case to Walker in order to deliberate on two significant issues.
Walker criticized the appeals court in his order dated Thursday for reweighing the case’s facts.
He entered a judgment in the state’s favor, however, on the grounds that the litigants failed to satisfy a legal requirement by failing to demonstrate that the changes in the law “unduly burden” the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment and equal protection.
Concerning provisions of the legislation that imposed additional limitations on mail-in ballot drop boxes and voter registration groups, there were disputes.
It mandated that boxes be staffed by personnel employed by election administrators and restricted their utilization to early-voting hours.
In addition, it mandated that voter registration organizations submit completed applications to elections supervisors in the applicant’s county of residence within fourteen days.
SB 90 was enacted into law in 2021 by Governor Ron DeSantis and the Republican-controlled Legislature, in response to calls for voting reforms by GOP leaders nationwide following former President Donald Trump’s false accusations of pervasive election fraud in his loss to Joe Biden.
The constitutionality of the measure was called into question by plaintiffs and voting rights organizations, and Walker issued a decision in March 2022 that halted contested amendments to the legislation.
A three-judge division of the court of appeals has previously reversed significant portions of Walker’s ruling in April 2023.