Jue. Mar 30th, 2023

The Florida NAACP, the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans and Vote.org sued a slew of Florida officials Thursday over the requirement that those without a state driver’s license must provide a handwritten signature to register to vote.

In the federal lawsuit, filed against Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd, a Republican, and the state’s 67 supervisors of elections, the plaintiffs allege that the «wet signature requirement» violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

«Florida law generally treats digital or electronic signatures as the same in all respects to wet signatures, and most Floridians can submit their online voter registration application with a digital signature. Other Florida citizens are denies them this opportunity for reasons that have nothing to do with their qualifications as Florida voters,» the plaintiffs wrote.

They continued: «This restriction has no purpose other than to impede the right to vote for some Floridians.»

The wet signature requirement bears no relation to the requirements of state law determining voter eligibility, nor does it serve any purpose for which an electronic signature would not suffice, they wrote, urging the court to find that the rule violates Civil Law. Human Rights and prevent the state from enforcing it in the future.

Vote.org, a national non-profit organization to promote voting, has set up similar costumes in Texas and Georgia.

Voting rights advocates and critics of the wet-signature requirement say it restricts the legal rights of people in Florida, while proponents of the rule argue that it protects against voter fraud.

Mike Hanmer, director of the Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement at the University of Maryland, said the requirement particularly affects people from historically underrepresented groups, including low-income people, racial and ethnic minorities, and younger Floridians. and older, some of whom are represented. by the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans.

“The stated reason for these requirements is to prevent fraud,” Hanmer said. “This is a really small problem. We don’t have many fraud cases.»

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a possible 2024 Republican presidential candidate, and the GOP-controlled state legislature have also limited the use of ballot boxes. And even though there have been only rare incidents of voter fraud in the US, DeSantis last year launched a special law enforcement unit to investigate such fraud.

“This is where we see death by a thousand paper cuts,” said Andrea Hailey, executive director of Vote.org. «Instead of competing in the marketplace of ideas, there are people who want to create laws that reshape the electorate so that they only have the voters they choose instead of the eligible voters.»

The Florida NAACP said the signature requirement diverts time and resources from helping registrants physically print, sign and return their voter registration forms.

A DeSantis spokesperson referred NBC News to the Florida Department of State when asked for comment. Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Por admin