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DeSantis and Moody vow to appeal judge's decision over voter law

A person reaches through a car window to submit a ballot in a drive-thru box.
Photo courtesy Florida Department of State
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In a decision handed down Thursday, the Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court of Northern Florida concluded that parts of Senate Bill 90 discriminated against Black voters.

Governor Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody denounced a decision by a U.S. District Judge in Tallahassee to strike down parts of a Florida election law passed last year.

In a 288 page decision handed down Thursday, Mark Walker, the Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court of Northern Florida, wrote that parts of Senate Bill 90 discriminate against Black voters, calling it unconstitutional and racially motivated.

"For the past 20 years, the majority in the Florida Legislature has attacked the voting rights of its Black constituents,” Walker wrote.

During a news conference in Melbourne Friday morning, Governor DeSantis said he would appeal.

“I don’t think there is any question that it will be stayed and reversed, but this was way way outside the bounds of what the current law is,” said the Governor.

The League of Women Voters filed suit after the Governor signed the measure into law last year. The law placed strict rules on voter-registration organizations, barred some kinds of assistance to Floridians waiting in line to vote, and limited the use of drop boxes.

“To say that somehow it’s like a major violation to not put these drop boxes in the middle of like a busy street corner. That is not good for election security," said DeSantis. "Those drop boxes have got to be safely guarded.”

The Governor spoke during a news conference at the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, where he signed a different measure providing additional benefits for law enforcement officers. Attorney General Ashley Moody was with him and echoed the Governor’s remarks.

“In my two decades as a lawyer, and over a decade as a judge, I’ve seen a lot of orders, thousands of orders," said Moody. "That order went very far outside the bounds of what I would expect from a judicial officer, and 100% we will appeal.”

Republican lawmakers have defended the law, saying it’s needed to guard against fraud.

In his decision Judge Walker called that a nonsensical rationale, saying they were motivated instead by a partisan drive to win elections.

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