OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today joined a coalition of 17 attorneys general in an amicus brief urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to reject the State of Florida’s attempt to revive a discriminatory voter suppression law enacted in 2021. The law, Florida Senate Bill 90 (SB 90), was struck down by the district court, and unlawfully sought to undermine voting access by, among other things, severely restricting the use of ballot drop boxes. In the friend-of-the-court brief, the coalition pushes back on the false notion perpetuated by SB 90 that election integrity and expanding access to the ballot are mutually exclusive, highlighting the states’ successful experience supporting increased access historically and during the pandemic.
“Florida’s SB 90 is an attack on voting rights — plain and simple,” said Attorney General Bonta. “It’s a modern-day reflection of historical efforts to discriminate against minority voters — and it’s not supported by the facts. I urge the appellate court to reject Florida’s attempt to revive it. The district court got this decision right.”
Signed into law on May 6, 2021, SB 90 attempted to sharply contract voting opportunities in Florida, building on widely debunked false claims of election fraud. In reality, there is no evidence from any jurisdiction that voting by drop box — or voting by mail more generally — threatens election integrity. For instance, data collected by the Heritage Foundation from states with universal mail-in voting prior to 2020 — states that also offered drop-off sites for absentee ballots in the past — found no evidence of widespread fraud out of the ten of millions of general election votes cast over a period of several decades. Similarly, another analysis by the Washington Post of about 14.6 million votes cast by mail in the 2016 and 2018 general elections in universal vote by mail states Colorado, Oregon, and Washington also failed to uncover evidence of widespread voter fraud. The 2020 general election was no exception. Numerous states, including California, have consistently and securely expanded methods for voters to cast their ballots beyond the traditional practice of visiting polling places on Election Day. In light of this extensive history and based on the record presented to the district court, SB 90 was struck down after it was determined that it was not motivated by a desire to prevent voting fraud or improve voting confidence, but rather as a pretext to unlawfully target voting methods preferred by minority voters.
In the friend-of-the-court brief, the coalition asserts:
In filing the amicus brief, Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of the District of Columbia, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington.
A copy of the amicus brief is available here.