The American Civil Liberties Union and Project Vote announced today that they are intervening in Florida’s effort to win federal approval for its controversial changes to state election laws.

Most of the provisions of House Bill 1355 have already been approved by the U.S. Department of Justice, but the Florida Department of State withdrew the four most controversial provisions — the ones cited by groups challenging the law — from Justice Department consideration, and opted to have them heard by the court instead. Under Section Five of the Voting Rights Act, Florida has to prove to the federal government that the changes will not have a discriminatory effect on voting.

Among those signing onto the ACLU’s complaint is Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho, who was a vocal critic of the changes during the past legislative session. He attached this statement to the ACLU’s announcement:

The new voting legislation passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor is a thinly veiled effort to deny legitimate voters their right to vote. Restrictions to early voting, requiring more voters to vote by provisional ballots, and shutting down 3rd party voter registration drives will have a retrogressive impact on all of Florida’s voters without providing any benefit whatsoever – including reducing fraudulent voting.

The ACLU is separately challenging the implementation of the law for provisions that have not yet been cleared by the federal government. A ruling has not yet come down in that case.

The ACLU’s announcement, including associated statements and court documents, can be found here.

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