Tag Archives: ACLU of Florida

Armed ‘Poll Watchers’ in Arizona Heighten Alarm Over Right-Wing Voter Intimidation

“This is obviously totally incompatible with liberal democracy and an open society,” said one commentator.

By Jake Johnson  Published 10-22-2022 by Common Dreams

Two masked individuals dressed in tactical gear sit near a ballot dropbox location in Mesa, Arizona on October 21, 2022. (Photo: Nicole Grigg/ABC15 Arizona/Twitter Screengrab)

Video footage released Friday night showing armed individuals sitting near a ballot drop box in Mesa, Arizona is heightening alarm over right-wing intimidation efforts as early voting kicks off across the United States.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office told a local ABC affiliate that it is investigating several individuals who were watching a Mesa voting location on Friday. The department confirmed that two individuals at the site were armed. Continue reading

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Bad Day for DeSantis as ‘Stop WOKE Act’ Hit With Injunction, Lawsuit

“If Florida truly believes we live in a post-racial society, then let it make its case,” a federal judge wrote in blocking part of the controversial law. “But it cannot win the argument by muzzling its opponents.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 8-18-2022 by Common Dreams

Governor Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2021 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his Stop WOKE Act suffered a two-punch blow Thursday as a federal judge blocked parts of the controversial law and a coalition of civil liberties groups filed a lawsuit against what they are calling “racially motivated censorship.”

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, issued a preliminary injunction against portions of the Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act, also called the Individual Freedom Act, saying it violates First Amendment free speech protections and the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause. Continue reading

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New GOP Laws ‘Will Devastate Abortion Access Across Large Parts of the Nation’

“Florida has been a critical haven for abortion access in the South, and this ban will decimate abortion access for Floridians and the entire region,” one group said after the governor’s signature.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 4-14-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Adam Fagen/flickr/CC

After Florida’s GOP governor on Thursday signed a 15-week abortion ban inspired by a contested Mississippi law that could soon reverse Roe v. Wade, pro-choice advocates warned of impacts across the region, given that the Sunshine State has long been “an oasis of reproductive care in the South.”

With Gov. Ron DeSantis’ support, Florida’s law is set to take effect this summer. His signature came after Republican state legislators in Kentucky on Wednesday overrode their Democratic governor’s veto of a similar bill and GOP Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday signed a near-total abortion ban. Continue reading

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‘Dangerous and Unprecedented’: Florida GOP Gives DeSantis Power to Draw Congressional Map

“The Florida Legislature’s decision to cede this decennial process of redrawing lines for congressional districts to Gov. DeSantis is undemocratic,” said the ACLU.

By Jake Johnson  Published 4-12-2022 by Common Dreams

Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2018 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.. Photo: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Florida’s GOP-controlled Legislature on Monday effectively handed Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis control over the process of drawing the state’s congressional map for upcoming U.S. House elections, a move that voting rights advocates decried as an “unprecedented and dangerous” abdication of responsibility.

Caving to pressure from the right-wing governor’s office, Florida’s state Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-10) and state House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-65) said in a joint statement that “at this time, Legislative reapportionment staff is not drafting or producing a map for introduction during the special session.” Continue reading

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‘This Law Will Not Stand,’ Say Equality Defenders as DeSantis Signs ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis “has damaged our state’s reputation as a welcoming and inclusive place for all families,” said one rights advocate. “Worse, he has made schools less safe for children.”

By Julia Conley.  Published 3-28-2022 by Common Dreams

Community leaders, parents, kids, doctors, lawyers, assemble in front of the White House to protest the non-science based policy of segregating LGBTQ children in public schools based on the schools’ determination of their gender identity. Photo: Ted Eytan/CC

Rights advocates on Monday said they will continue to fight against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ attacks on LGBTQ+ families after the Republican governor signed the so-called Parental Rights in Education bill that’s come to be known as the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” proposal.

After DeSantis signed the bill Monday, standing at a podium with a sign reading, “Protect Children,” the law will go into effect July 1. Continue reading

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‘A Win for Civil Rights’: Federal Judge Blocks Florida GOP’s Anti-Protest Law

The court’s decision, said a coalition of civil rights groups, “serves as a powerful reminder that such unjust and unconstitutional efforts cannot stand.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Puvlished 9-10-2021

George Floyd protests in Miami, Florida on June 6, 2020. Photo: Mike Shaheen/Wikimedia/CC

Civil liberties and racial justice advocates are celebrating after a federal judge ruled Thursday that Florida’s anti-protest law is unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable.

In his 90-page decision (pdf) granting civil rights groups’ request for a preliminary injunction, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker said the law—passed by Florida’s GOP-controlled House and Senate and signed in April by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in response to demonstrations against police violence and racial injustice—violates rights to free speech and peaceful assembly as well as due process protections. Continue reading

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‘Watershed Moment in Election Law’ as Judge Rules ‘Modern Day Poll Tax’ in Florida Unconstitutional

Advocates for restoring the voting rights of people with past convictions welcomed the ruling as “a powerful reminder that no one can trump the U.S. Constitution.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-25-2020

Screenshot: MSNBC

Civil liberties advocates celebrated after a federal court on Sunday struck down as unconstitutional a Florida law that would have denied the right to vote to nearly a million recently enfranchised state residents with past felony convictions until they paid all outstanding legal fees, fines, and restitution.

After Florida voters in November 2018 overwhelming backed Amendment 4—a ballot initiative that restored the voting rights of Floridians who have fully completed their sentences for felony convictions other than murder or sex crimes—state lawmakers passed legislation that critics condemned as a “modern day poll tax.” Continue reading

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