A 5-4 decision of the United States Supreme Court in Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC et al. V. Bennett, Secretary of State of Arizona, et al. holding that Arizona’s matching funds law substantially burdened political speech and was not sufficiently justified by a compelling interest to survive First Amendment scrutiny quickly impacted Florida law. As I wrote about back in August, then candidate Rick Scott had challenged the constitutionality of Florida’s matching funds law and a Federal judge had granted a temporary injunction as to provisions that capped Scott’s spending and gave his primary competition matching funds for any spending over that cap. As noted by the Supreme Court, portions of Florida’s law were similar to Arizona’s. The Orlando Sentinel is now reporting that, in light of the Supreme Court decision, the Judge has made his injunction permanent.
The Federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s ruling and entered a preliminary injunction barring the State of Florida from releasing funds to one of the candidates for Governor under the
excess spending subsidy of section 106.355. This section of the campaign finance portion of the Florida Election Code provided for a subsidy to candidates who opposition had exceeded a $2 per registered voter expenditure limit. The Division of Election’s brief to the 11th Circuit is online , along with the challenger’s brief.
I contributed a chapter to the American Bar Association to the America Votes! Supplement – just published today.
The U.S. Department of Justice has announced it has settled with Osceola County, resolving a challenge to the county’s School Board districts under the Voting Rights Act. Last week, according to the Orlando Sentinel, the School Board adopted the new districts enhancing the chances of electing a Hispanic candidate for the first time.
The Miami Herald is reporting that the requirement in Florida that voters register 29 days before an election was held to be reasonable and not imposing a severe burden on constitutional rights by a Federal Judge in Miami . The Elections Supervisors (Broward, Duval, Miami-Dade, Orange, and Palm Beach Counties) in the case previously settled the case, agreeing to pay fees and to institute a “grace period” for voter registrations if such a change were allowed by law. To date, I am not aware of any such change.