Election integrity group files brief in defense of Florida election reform law

by Laura Ramirez

Photo: Alamy

The Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) filed an amicus curiae legal brief last Tuesday, defending a recently-passed Florida election integrity law that was blocked by a lower court.

The non-profit organization, which partly focuses on improving election integrity at the state and federal level, asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to reverse a lower court’s ruling months prior that blocked parts of election integrity law, SB 90.

The measure, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., in 2021, “strengthens existing voter ID laws, bans ballot harvesting, prohibits unsolicited mass mailing of ballots, increases election transparency, and prohibits private money from administering elections,” according to the governor’s office.

However, in March, a U.S. District Court ruled against parts of the bill due to claims that it is racially discriminatory. Judge Mark E. Walker said the state’s lawmakers “repeatedly sought to make voting tougher for Black voters because of their propensity to favor Democratic candidates,” as previously reported.

FGA fought back against the lower court’s claims, arguing that Florida’s election reforms “strike a lawful and proper balance between making it easy to vote, but hard to cheat,” according to court documents.

“For a court to find Florida’s SB 90 to be the product of intentional racial discrimination, it must first find, based on the facts, that ‘the legislature as a whole was imbued with racial motives’ when it passed SB 90,” FGA continued. “Here, the Court failed to meet this burden, relying primarily on ‘old, outdated intentions of previous generations’ and a misguided application of Arlington Heights, both of which run afoul of well-established precedent.”

In May, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit granted a motion to stay the lower court’s decision pending appeal, temporarily reinstating the election integrity measure.

Now, FGA now urges the court to reverse the district court ruling and “uphold the constitutionality of Florida’s election integrity law, SB 90.”

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