A federal court in Tallahassee struck down a Florida law that listed the governor’s party first on all ballots, which Democrats argued gave Republicans a significant advantage. District Court Judge Mark Walker issued a permanent injunction against the law, stating it violates both the 1st and 14th amendments of the Constitution.
Democrats who brought the lawsuit cited research showing the statistical advantage of being listed first was anywhere from 3.9 to 5.4 percentage points.
Rick Scott, a Republican, defeated Democratic Bill Nelson by 0.13 percentage points in the 2018 race for U.S. Senate. The governor’s race won by Republican Ron DeSantis over Democrat Andrew Gillum was decided by 0.4 points.
The federal court order calls on Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee and all county elections supervisors to immediately stop listing candidates first based on the last gubernatorial election. Suggested replacements include a rotation or listing names alphabetically.
“An unbiased ballot is one of the cornerstones of our democratic system and Democrats are taking every action possible to protect the integrity of our democratic process,” said Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez.
Democrats are also challenging similar ballot order statutes in three other states.