Voter registration groups say they’re ramping up their efforts in Florida after a federal judge last week issued an injunction blocking what he called burdensome portions of the state’s 2011 election law. Some voter-registration organizations have already signed up tens of thousands of Hispanic voters, but several organizations, including non-partisan groups such as the League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote, had abandoned registration efforts because of the elections law passed by the GOP-dominated legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott last year. With U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle’s ruling blocking key parts of the law involving registration, the League and Rock the Vote said Wednesday they are going to resume registration efforts, joining Democratic and Republican parties and liberal and conservative groups already working throughout the state.
The left-leaning Florida New Majority, which dropped its registration campaign after the law went into effect, also will resume its efforts, policy and legislative director Badili Jones said.
After more than seven decades of registering voters in Florida, the League stopped in 2011 and, joined by Rock the Vote and the Florida Public Interest Research Group, sued the state saying the law’s administrative requirements were too burdensome for them to operate. Tallahassee-based Hinkle agreed, blocking a part of the law requiring groups to turn in registration forms within 48 hours of collecting signatures or face fines of $50 per application, capped at $1,000 a year. Hinkle’s ruling means registration organizers once again will have 10 days to submit voter forms. Other key provisions in the law remain, but Deirdre Macnab, president of the League’s Florida chapter, said Wednesday in Orlando that winning the injunction was the first step in eliminating barriers to Florida voters’ access to the polls.