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Weil Files Suit Against Florida Officials to End Voter Intimidation of Previously Convicted People

Weil, the Free and Fair Litigation Group, and co-counsel have brought an action on behalf of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), and of individuals previously convicted of felonies who have been intimidated and deterred from voting, against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and other Florida state officials. The lawsuit claims that after Florida restored voting rights to 1.4 million individuals with felony convictions through the passage of Amendment 4 in 2018, state officials created a “bureaucratic morass” that prevents those citizens from determining their eligibility to vote, and that the Governor’s highly publicized deployment of “election police” constitutes illegal intimidation under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The suit details how state officials have provided inaccurate, incomplete or misleading information to potential voters who try to determine their eligibility to vote; created a byzantine process in which voter eligibility is determined by varying local practices depending on where the potential voter lives; and since 2022, arrested people for having voted, including some who were encouraged to register to vote and provided with a voter ID from the Florida Secretary of State. 

“This is just a more sophisticated version of the conduct that caused the Voting Rights Act to be passed in the first place,” Carey Dunne, a founding principal of Free and Fair Litigation, told The Washington Post.

FRRC and the intimidated voters are seeking a declaration that Florida’s implementation of Amendment 4 is unconstitutional and illegal under the Voting Rights Act; the creation of a statewide database for potential voters to determine their eligibility; and the appointment of a federal monitor.

The Weil pro bono team includes Ed Soto, Managing Partner of Weil’s Miami office, and associates Sam Mendez, Nathalie Sosa, Katie Black and Helena Masiello.