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Election Law @ Moritz

Election Law @ Moritz


Litigation

Diaz v. Hood

Case Information

Date Filed / Ended: October 12, 2004 / September 28, 2005
State: Florida
Issue: Voter Registration
Courts that Heard this Case: U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida (Case 04-22572); 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (Case 04-15539)

Issue:

Whether disenfranchisement based on the failure to provide information as to voter eligibility violates voters' Equal Protection rights when voters sign a general oath stating that they are eligible to vote under applicable state law.

Status:

Counts I, II, VI and VII dismissed, all counts against Secretary of State for conduct in 2004 dismissed. Discovery due by 10/3/2007; Motions due by 10/8/2007; Pretrial Stipulation due by 11/30/2007; Trial set for 2/4/08. Final Judgment for defendant on 3/25/08.

Case Summary

In this case, several Florida voters sought injunctive relief requiring the names of individuals who submitted incomplete registration applications to be added to the list of voters registered for the November, 2004 election. Voters in Florida are required to check several boxes when registering to vote; such boxes include information regarding citizenship, mental competency and whether the applicant is a felon. In this case, several applicants were denied their right to vote due to the failure to mark these boxes, although they signed a statement stating that they were eligible to vote under Florida law. Plaintiffs allege that these are non-material omissions, they were not notified of the error, and they were not given a chance to remedy the error. The Court originally dismissed this action as the unions did not identify any specific union members who were injured, and there was evidence that individual Plaintiffs were notified of the error and at least one corrected the same and was eligible to vote. However, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Plaintiffs did have standing and have allowed for the filing of a new Complaint.

11th Circuit Court of Appeals

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“The ordered working of our Republic, and of the democratic process, depends on a sense of decorum and restraint in all branches of government, and in the citizenry itself,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in 2004. Kennedy’s statement is “the most important line” in the decision, Foley told The New York Times, adding,  “He’s going to look at what’s going on in North Carolina as the complete absence of that. I think that helps the plaintiffs in any of these cases.”


 

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