Amendment 4

League of Women Voters of Florida v. Byrd

Location: Florida
Status: Closed (Dismissed)
Last Update: July 10, 2023

What's at Stake

Florida’s statewide uniform voter registration application does not include information specifying voter eligibility requirements for Floridians with past convictions, creating confusion and putting people in danger of criminal penalties. This lack of information violates the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which requires states to inform applicants of eligibility requirements on voter registration forms.

Florida voters enacted Amendment 4 in 2018, which amended the Florida constitution to automatically restore voting rights for citizens with felony convictions upon “completion of all terms of sentence, including parole or probation,” except for those convicted of murder or a felony sex offense. The Florida legislature subsequently defined “completion of all terms of sentence” to include payment of legal financial obligations (including fines, fees, costs, and restitution) as a prerequisite to have one’s voting rights restored. As a result, eligibility requirements for returning citizens to register to vote in Florida depend on the offense, the term of the sentence, and the court of conviction. But Florida’s uniform statewide voter registration includes none of those eligibility requirements, stating only that voters must affirm that their “right to vote has been restored.”

The consequences of this lack of information are high because Florida has aggressively prosecuted dozens of individuals who, amidst widespread confusion and as a result of a good-faith mistake, believed they were eligible to vote and tried to register or vote.

Plaintiffs the League of Women Voters of Florida and the Florida State Conference of the NAACP sued Florida for failing to specify and inform applicants of voter eligibility requirements on its registration form in April 2023 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, represented by the ACLU, the ACLU of Florida, the Brennan Center, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and O’Melveny & Myers. In July 2023, the district court dismissed Plaintiffs’ claim.

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