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Florida: federal court enjoins restrictions on voter registration groups

ACSblog reports: The Southern District of Florida has issued a preliminary injunction against a 2005 law which restricted persons and organzations registering voters. Under Florida's Third-Party Voter Registration Law, any person or organization, other than a political party, who registered voters was required to deliver the voter registration forms to an election official within 10 days or else face fines up to $5000 per form. The law applied even to organizations who lost forms through no fault of their own, such as in a hurricane, flood or fire.

As a result of this law, many organizations, such as the League of Women Voters and the Florida AFL-CIO, ceased registering Florida voters entirely out of fear that their organization's budget would be evicerated by fines, causing thousands of eligible Florida voters to go unregistered.

The court, in an opinion by Judge Patricia Seitz, held that the Florida law violates the First Amendment. According to the court, the First Amendment allows organizations to choose the "most effective means of conducting their voter registration drives to ensure their voices are heard in the political process." Additionally, the court held the law to be unconstitutionally discriminatory because it exempted political parties.

The court issued a preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of the Florida law. -- ACSBlog: The Blog of the American Constitution Society

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