Attorneys representing the State of Florida, particularly Secretary of State Laurel Lee, issued an 18-page document consisting of their arguments against the groups filing suit. Leon County Circuit Judge Layne Smith is scheduled to hear a request for a temporary injunction to block the maps from proceeding.
Much of the focus of the redistricting process has been centered around District 5 currently held by Congressman Al Lawson (D-FL-5). Civil rights groups and Lawson have said that the new map backed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is “infected by racial discrimination” for eliminating a historic minority majority voting district.
Democracy Docket, a self-described “progressive” voting advocacy group, has sued the Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee and Attorney General Ashley Moody for not having an approved congressional redistricting map finalized months ahead of candidate qualifying.
The Gadsden County Supervisor of Elections and the Florida Department of State have initiated an investigation into possible voter fraud related to 23 voters. The investigation is reviewing the votes casts by four sexual predators and 19 sex offenders in the 2020 Gadsden County General Election.
Voting records indicate 19 of the 23 voters under investigation were registered as Democrats. Three were registered with no party affiliation, and one was registered as a Republican. Also, public records reveal that 10 voted via absentee ballots, seven early-voted, and six voted in person.
The allegations are similar to other situations across the state. For example, The Florida Capital Star recently reported about felons voting in Leon County, which borders Gadsden County to the west.
Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley told The Florida Capital Star that he started the process of removing seven felons from the Leon County voter registration system. Earley noted that all seven voted in the 2020 general election.
Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee responded to the concerns of the chair of the Democratic party over alleged voter registration irregularities in Miami-Dade County by endorsing Governor Ron DeSantis’ proposal to create an Office of Election Crimes and Security.
Manual Diaz, the Chair of the Democratic Party, sent a letter to Lee on February 3 seeking an investigation into allegations that voters were unknowingly having their voter registrations changed from Democrat to Republican. Diaz added, ” I trust that you are as alarmed as I am by these reports and will uphold you duty as Chief Elections Officer of the State of Florida by ensuring that Florida seniors are not duped or taken advantage of by third party voter registration organizations.
Secretary of State responded to Diaz’s request on Twitter by stating, “Reports like this are why the Ofc of Election Crimes & Security proposed by @GovRonDeSantis is a big step forward for protecting voters in Florida. We want to review ALL claims and ensure that those engaged in elections activity in Florida follow the law.”
The allegations were first noted by a local media outlet which reported that “more victims of third-party registrations are coming forward to report that their voter registration was altered without their permission. All of the victims were older than 65 years old, live in Miami-Dade County, and all of them were outraged when they learned they were registered as Republicans.”
Challenges against the election law formerly known as SB 90 established in the 2021 legislative session in Florida, will be allowed to move forward following a 62-page order by Chief U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Florida, Mark Walker, on Friday.
Some Organizations behind challenges that were approved by Walker on Friday include; The Florida Conference of the NAACP, Disability Rights Florida, the League of Women Voters of Florida, and UnidosUS.
Eight county elections supervisors were dismissed by the First Circuit Court of Appeal in Florida from a lawsuit proposing the requirement for county elections offices to save digital copies of paper ballots during elections, also known as Digital Ballot Copies.
The suit was filed by The Florida Democratic Party and Democratic lawmakers against Secretary of State Laurel Lee, Division of Elections Director Maria Matthews, and the “Supervisors”.