Judge finds punitive voter registration law unconstitutional
September 2006

In a win for unions and other grassroots groups, a federal judge has voided a new Florida voter registration law, calling it unconstitutional, according to the Associated Press,. The law required that each voter registration form that is collected must be submitted within 10 days. Fines up to $5,000 may be levied. But the law does not apply to political parties.

U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz wrote: "If third-party voter registration organizations permanently cease their voter registration efforts, Florida citizens will be stripped of an important means and choice of registering to vote and of associating with one another." The AP also said that Seitz found that the law "unconstitutionally discriminates" against third-party registration groups.

"This is a win for democracy and will send a signal to officials in Florida and other states that you cannot erect unreasonable barriers to voter registration," said Wendy Weiser, co-counsel for the third-party groups and deputy director of the Democracy Program at the New York University law school's Brennan Center for Justice.

The plaintiffs in the case included the League of Women Voters of Florida, the Florida AFL-CIO, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and other groups.

The state said it would appeal.

(Associated Press, "Judge Blocks Florida Voter Registration Law," August 28, 2006.)

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