Victory in Challenge Against Florida’s Anti-Voter Law

Affiliate: ACLU of Florida
March 1, 2024 5:00 pm

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In a significant legal victory, a federal district court has issued summary judgment in favor of voting and immigrants’ rights advocates challenging Florida SB 7050, which bars any noncitizen — regardless of lawful residence status — from working or volunteering for third-party voter registration organizations (3PVROs) who register eligible Floridians.

Hispanic Federation and Poder Latinx, along with three individual non-citizen plaintiffs, allege that SB 7050 violates their 14th Amendment rights by preventing nonpartisan, community-based organizations that depend on noncitizens from registering voters. The lawsuit specifically focuses on a part of the law that imposes a $50,000 fine on an organization for each noncitizen person who “collects” or “handles” voter registration forms on their behalf. The restrictions impact lawful permanent residents, many of whom have longtime, close ties to the communities in which they reside.

In its ruling, the court found that the “citizenship requirement” provision violates plaintiffs’ right to equal protection under the law. This ruling underscores the importance of protecting the fundamental right to encourage eligible voters to participate in their democracy and to do so free from discrimination.


Florida’s SB 7050 has been a subject of controversy due to its infringement on free speech rights as well as the rights of noncitizens to encourage eligible voters to register. Plaintiffs contend that the law unconstitutionally restricts civic organizations’ ability to convey their message that all eligible voters should participate in the democratic process.

The groups are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Florida, Demos, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, and Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP. The case cites violations of the 14th Amendment.

“Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker’s decision marks a step forward in Hispanic Federation’s fight against attempts to restrict voting rights and upend democracy,” said Frankie Miranda, President and CEO of Hispanic Federation. “This victory continues to allow legal residents and others who have called Florida home for decades to continue helping their U.S. citizen family, neighbors, and friends register to vote. We hope our efforts send a clear message to other states that attempt to legislate discriminatory policies: we will remain vigilant and continue fighting for our constitutional right to participate in the democratic process.”

“This is a very important victory for our community and organizations like ours committed to advancing democratic principles that ultimately shape the future of our nation,” said Yadira Sánchez, executive director of Poder Latinx. “Discriminatory practices undermine the very essence of democracy, our work, and are unequivocally unconstitutional. Preventing non-citizens from encouraging eligible voters to exercise their right and duty is not only unjust but goes against the core values of our democracy. Today’s decision reaffirms our right to empower those who are eligible to vote, leveraging their voices for a stronger, more inclusive America. We will continue to play a pivotal role in our communities, especially in mobilizing individuals to actively participate in our civic duties, thereby contributing significantly to our collective progress.”


“Today’s summary judgment is testament to our clients’ belief in their communities and their tireless work to better our democracy,” said Adriel I. Cepeda Derieux, deputy director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “Florida cannot deny noncitizens the right to do this laudable civic-minded work without violating the Fourteenth Amendment.”


“For years, our clients have done the essential work of building a more inclusive democracy by helping their communities access the ballot. Today’s ruling confirms that everyone, including non-citizens, plays a vital role in our democracy,” said Estee M. Konor, associate director of legal strategies at Demos. “It is a victory for all Floridians, especially immigrant communities, who benefit from the voter education and outreach our clients provide.”


“A person’s citizenship status has no relationship whatsoever to their ability to help people register to vote,” said Caroline A. McNamara, staff attorney with the ACLU of Florida. “Today’s ruling rejects this blatant discrimination and protects Third Party Voter Registration Organizations as they perform their vital work helping every voter in Florida to register and vote in 2024 and beyond. Once again we tell the State of Florida: Let Florida vote.”

“Today’s court ruling affirms what we already knew, that Florida’s SB7050 is unconstitutional and discriminatory to our non-citizen communities,” said Cesar Z. Ruiz, associate counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF and lead counsel on the case. “We are thrilled that we could gain this win not only for our clients but for all Floridians wanting to motivate their community to participate in their civic duty. While this is a great step forward, we will continue in this fight to expand civic engagement and expand voter access in Florida and beyond.”




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