Activist groups demand to see Heritage Foundation's records regarding Florida's voter suppression laws

click to enlarge Putting a vote-by-mail ballot in the postbox. - Adobe
Putting a vote-by-mail ballot in the postbox.

Groups challenging the constitutionality of a new Florida elections law are asking a federal judge to force the conservative Heritage Foundation and its lobbying arm to turn over documents about the development of the law.

The Florida State Conference of the NAACP, Common Cause and Disability Rights Florida filed an 18-page motion in federal court last week seeking to force the Heritage Foundation and Heritage Action for America to provide documents subpoenaed in the underlying challenge to the law (SB 90). The motion contends that Heritage was “intimately involved in meeting, conferring, and strategizing with key Florida legislators about SB 90” and that the documents could provide evidence about the law’s purpose and its drafting.

The subpoenas focus on information about communications between Heritage and state officials, according to the motion.

“Plaintiffs’ subpoenas to Heritage seek a targeted set of highly relevant records bearing directly on plaintiffs’ claims and defendants’ arguments in the litigation,” the motion said. “Heritage was extensively involved in pushing for state legislation to restrict voting rights, including with respect to SB 90. The specifics of its activities and interactions with Florida legislators and Florida’s governor leading up to SB 90’s passage and enactment are thus highly salient.”

The motion said Heritage, which is not a party in the lawsuit, had declined to turn over the requested documents.

U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks on Friday ordered Heritage to respond to the motion by Thursday. The NAACP, Common Cause and Disability Rights Florida filed the lawsuit in May in Tallahassee, alleging that the law —- which deals with issues such as voting by mail —- is unconstitutional and is designed to suppress voting by groups such as Black residents. Supporters have argued the law would bolster election security.

The motion to try to force Heritage to provide the documents was filed last week in South Florida because that is where a plaintiffs’ attorney is based.

Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly newsletters, and consider supporting this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you Central Florida news, and every little bit helps.


Since 1990, Orlando Weekly has served as the free, independent voice of Orlando, and we want to keep it that way.

Becoming an Orlando Weekly Supporter for as little as $5 a month allows us to continue offering readers access to our coverage of local news, food, nightlife, events, and culture with no paywalls.

Join today because you love us, too.

Scroll to read more Orlando Area News articles

Join Orlando Weekly Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.