Eleven state legislators have been hit with subpoenas in a federal lawsuit involving four controversial provisions of Florida’s new election law. The subpoenas to six senators and five representatives, all Republicans, were issued on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Florida and the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic voter advocacy group, by their attorney, Daniel O’Connor of the Washington, D.C., firm Bryan Cave LLP.
Both organizations have been working to prevent the U.S. government from approving the changes, which they say will disenfranchise voters and make it harder to register new voters in Florida headed into a critical 2012 presidential election. The lawmakers, most of whom supported the legislation, are ordered to produce by Dec. 14 “all documents” related to the four major election law changes at issue in the case.
Those changes curtail early voting from 14 days to eight, reduce the shelf life of voter signatures on ballot initiative petitions from four years to two, require third-party groups to submit voter registration forms within 48 hours and require voters who update addresses at the polls to cast provisional ballots if they have moved from a different county.
The state initiated the lawsuit by asking a panel of three federal judges to “preclear,” or approve, the changes as required by law to ensure that they do not discriminate against minority voters in Hillsborough, Collier, Hardee, Hendry and Monroe counties.