May 6, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Federal appeals court reinstates portions of Florida's restrictive voting law

Photo of Ron DeSantis speaking from a podium on a stage

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis delivers remarks at the 2022 CPAC conference at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando on Feb. 24, 2022. Photo: Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

A federal appeals court reinstated on Friday provisions of Florida's GOP-led voting law, overruling a lower court that said the provisions aimed to suppress Black voters, the Miami Herald reports.

Why it matters: The law included restrictions on vote-by-mail ballots and drop boxes, which civil rights advocates have said makes voting more difficult for Black people. It's one of dozens of voting restrictions brought by Republicans in state legislatures following the 2020 election.

What they're saying: The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, a three-judge panel, said there wasn't sufficient evidence to prove the law was intended to discriminate.

  • The judges noted in their opinion that the Supreme Court instructs courts to presume the "good faith of the state legislature" when examining possible discriminatory intent in a statute, per the Herald.
  • "[I]n its 288-page opinion, the district court never once mentioned the presumption," they wrote. "And while we do not require courts to incant magic words, it does not appear to us that the district court here meaningfully accounted for the presumption at all."
  • The lower court ruling is temporarily blocked as an appeal continues.

What to watch: The decision means the law's provisions will likely be in effect come November, the Herald notes.

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