Orlando, FL - In the wake of last week's decision by Judge Robert Hinkle of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Florida, the League of Women Voters of Florida and Rock the Vote held a press conference on Wednesday, June 6 to announce their intention to resume voter registration in Florida.
Although both organizations successfully registered voters prior to 2011, the passage of HB 1355 established onerous and impracticable requirements for third-party voter registration groups such as the League and Rock the Vote, causing them to suspend their registration efforts in the state.
On May 31, Judge Hinkle preliminarily blocked major portions of the law, finding several sections to be burdensome and likely unconstitutional including the 48-hour deadline for return of completed forms.
After reviewing the court's decision, the League of Women Voters of Florida and Rock the Vote are prepared to move forward and begin taking steps to register voters in anticipation of the upcoming elections season.
"Failure was never an option in this battle against voter suppression," said LWVF President Deirdre Macnab. "Now it's time for our volunteers to work overtime to make up for lost ground. Our goal? To make sure every eligible Floridian has the opportunity to have their voice heard and their vote counted."
"Florida is an important youth vote state," adds Heather Smith, President of Rock the Vote. "This decision enables us to get back to the work of encouraging a new generation of engaged voters and future leaders."
"As Judge Hinkle recognized, when organizations like LWVF and RTV conduct voter registration drives they are engaging in constitutionally protected activity that promotes democracy," said Lee Rowland, counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice and one of the attorneys who argued the Florida case. "We are extremely pleased that the court's initial ruling allows our clients to restart those efforts."
The attorneys representing the civic groups are with the Brennan Center for Justice, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Florida, and leading pro bono law firms Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Florida-based Coffey Burlington. Lee Rowland of the Brennan Center, and Farrah Berse and Zachary Dietert of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP argued the case before the federal district court.
Both Macnab and Smith, along with League members and Rock the Vote supporters, were present at the Wednesday press conference. The event took place at 10:00 AM at the Orange County Courthouse.
In addition to the Orlando press conference, there are several scheduled press events throughout the state. Please contact the LWVF state office at (850) 224-2545 for more information.