A federal trial over a Florida election law passed last year kicked off Monday as civil rights groups and voting rights groups look to prove that the law has a discriminatory effect, CNBC reports.
Senate Bill 90 put in new restrictions for mail-in ballots and the use of drop boxes as well as requirements for third-party groups that register voters. It also bans helping voters or providing them with food and water while they wait in line.
''If the Challenged Provisions of SB 90 are allowed to stand, countless eligible Floridians will find it unjustifiably harder to vote,'' the plaintiffs wrote in a court filing.
The lawsuit was brought by several groups, including League of Women Voters of Florida, Black Voters Matter Fund, Florida Alliance of Retired Americans, Florida NAACP and Disability Rights Florida.
''This last election season, I was so proud of the state of Florida because we've had so many problems, hanging chads and this and that problem, and we finally got it right,'' Cecile Scoon, President of the League of Women Voters of Florida, told the court.
''These additional changes were not needed,'' she continued. ''It's just limitations on ways to vote for fear of something happening.''
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, said last May while signing the law that the legislation adds the ''strongest election integrity measures in the country.''
"We're making sure we're enforcing voter ID," DeSantis commented in a Fox News appearance from West Palm Beach. "We're also banning ballot harvesting. We're not going to let political operatives go and get satchels of votes to dump them in some dropbox."
The White House criticized Florida as ''moving in the wrong direction'' by enacting the law and said there was no legitimate reason to change the rules ''right now to make it harder to vote. That's built on a lie.''
"The only reason to change the rules right now is if you don't like who voted, and that should be out of bounds,'' deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One in mid-May.
''There's some states with bad laws trying to make them good. And some states with good laws trying to make them even better. That's moving forward. Florida is moving in the wrong direction."
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