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Florida voter registration groups await an order on new restrictions

 Tallahassee's Federal Courthouse when the trial is being conducted.
Tom Flanigan
Tallahassee's Federal Courthouse when the trial is being conducted.

New restrictions on voter registration groups in Florida are expected to take effect this weekend after a federal judge declined to issue a ruling this week on whether or not to temporarily block them.

“I will do my best to get out an order, but it’s not an order I’m going to be able to issue in forty-eight hours,” Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker told attorneys in the case.

Several voter registration groups and some of their employees are challenging provisions of the state's new elections law - SB 7050 - that they say violate their 1st and 14th Amendment rights. Their lawsuit, Hispanic Federation v. Byrd, centers on a provision in the new law that prohibits anyone who’s not a U.S. citizen from “handling” or “collecting” voter registration forms.

Voter registration groups are often nonpartisan advocacy groups, churches, social clubs and other nonprofits that help register eligible voters who might not otherwise cast a ballot. Florida has nearly 2,000 active voter registration groups listed with the state Division of Elections.

Check back for updates.
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Valerie Crowder
Valerie Crowder is a freelance reporter based in Panama City, Florida. Before moving to Florida, she covered politics and education for Public Radio East in New Bern, North Carolina. While at PRE, she was also a fill-in host during All Things Considered. She got her start in public radio at WAER-FM in Syracuse, New York, where she was a part-time reporter, assistant producer and host. She has a B.A. in newspaper online journalism and political science from Syracuse University. When she’s not reporting the news, she enjoys reading classic fiction and thrillers, hiking with members of the Florida Trail Association and doing yoga.
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