Florida just got a massive win for election integrity.
A federal appeals court just reversed a lower court’s decision to overturn Florida’s newest election integrity laws.
The laws established Election Crimes and Security and worked to strengthen voting rules in the state. This includes signature verification on mail-in ballots.
On Friday, May 6, a federal appeals court granted Florida’s request to reinstate portions of the state’s election laws, struck down by a district court judge who ruled the measures unconstitutional and discriminatory.
On May 1, 2021, the Republican-controlled state Senate approved SB 90 (pdf), which overhauled Florida election law ahead of the 2022 midterm elections and 2024 presidential election. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law May 6, 2021, with immediate effect, strengthening voting rules in the state and establishing the nation’s first Office of Election Crimes and Security at the Department of State.
The law requires vote-by-mail ballot signatures to match the most recent signature on file to be counted. The measure also dictates that political parties and candidates cannot be shut out from observing the signature matching process.
The court also dealt a massive blow to the lower court’s claim that the law was attempting to suppress the black vote.
The ruling also took issue with Walker’s scathing finding that the legislation, championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republican lawmakers, was part of a pattern of Black voter suppression. Walker took the extraordinary step of putting Florida under federal supervision for future voting laws that deal with certain topics.
The district judge “failed to properly account for what might be called the presumption of legislative good faith” in his analysis, the appellate court said.
“For starters, in its 288-page opinion, the district court never once mentioned the presumption,” the ruling says. “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.”