Federal Appellate Court Allows Florida Voting Rules to Take Effect

Federal Appellate Court Allows Florida Voting Rules to Take Effect a box holds voting ballots (Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

By Charlie McCarthy | Friday, 06 May 2022 12:42 PM

The U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday overturned a decision that had struck down Florida’s 2021 voting law.

The three-member circuit bench – with each member having been appointed by former President Donald Trump – decided in favor of the state in a suit filed by the League of Women Voters of Florida, VotebeatUS’s Carrie Levine tweeted.

Florida had suspended enforcement of key elements of its voting law after a March 31 ruling by a U.S District Court for the Northern District of Florida judge.

The voting law, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis last May, tightened rules on mailed ballots, drop boxes, and other election methods — changes that negatively affected Black voters, Judge Mark Walker wrote in his ruling.

On Friday, the circuit court judges faulted Walker for failing to presume the good faith of the Florida Legislature, as required.

"While we do not require courts to incant magic words, it does not appear to us that the district court here meaningfully accounted for the presumption at all," the opinion said.

The opinion also cited the "Purcell principle" – which derived from Purcell v. Gonzalez – "essentially saying it's too close to Florida's primary election and especially noting that voter registration was already underway and the stay affected the rules governing it," Levine tweeted.

Much of the debate about the voting law focused on vote-by-mail ballots and how they were collected and returned. The new law also determined when people could use a drop box to submit their ballot.

"MORE: All 3 judges were appointed by former President Trump. Elections matter. The Florida law bans Zuckerbucks which is vital. The fight for election integrity continues! Follow me to keep update,” tweeted Tim Swain, who’s running for a seat in the South Carolina House.

When he signed the legislation a year ago, DeSantis hailed its focus on election security and said it added the "strongest election integrity measures in the country."

"We're making sure we're enforcing voter ID," DeSantis said during his Fox News appearance from West Palm Beach, where he signed the legislation in front of cheering supporters.

"We're also banning ballot harvesting. We're not going to let political operatives go and get satchels of votes to dump them in some dropbox."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Original Article