In an April 27, 2023, decision, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed almost all of a district court ruling that declared Florida election laws regulating ballot drop boxes, the solicitation of voters at the polls, and the delivery of voter registration forms by third-party voter-registration organizations to be unconstitutional and unlawful. The court rejected the district court’s conclusion that the provisions were motivated by intentional discrimination on the basis of race. It explained, “From the start, the district court erred.” In particular, it criticized the district court for conflating race and political considerations. The court pointed to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, where the Supreme Court said, “[P]artisan motives are not the same as racial motives.”
With the recent successful filibuster blocking Senate consideration of the so-called “For the People Act,” the Supreme Court’s decision in Brnovich takes on added importance. By reversing the Ninth Circuit’s decision, as The ACRU argued it should, Arizona’s race-neutral, generally applicable election rules limiting out-of-precinct voting and ballot harvesting will stand without any danger of preemption by federal statute.