Today, Democrats won a major legal victory in Florida as a court overturned the state’s law requiring that ballots list Republicans first, giving GOP candidates a documented and unfair advantage. Democrats are also challenging similar ballot order statutes in three other states.
From the court’s opinion:
“Plaintiffs have proven — and this Court hereby finds — that candidates of the major parties in Florida receive an average primacy effect vote of approximately five percent when listed first in their office block on the ballot, and that this advantage accrues to a candidate because of the candidates’ name order, which in turn is prescribed by section 101.151(3)(a), Florida Statutes. Furthermore, given Florida’s history of election results in which the margin of victory or defeat is less than three to five percentage points, this Court finds section 101.151(3)(a) has impacted Plaintiffs’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights by systematically allocating that small but statistically significant advantage to Republican candidates in elections where the last-elected governor was a Republican, just as it awarded that advantage to Democrats in elections when Florida’s last-elected governor was a Democrat.”
In response, please see the following statements from the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Florida Democratic Party.
From Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez:
“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. This victory is an important step in ensuring every Floridian can participate in a fair election.”
From DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos:
“For too long, Florida Republicans have used unconstitutional tactics to hold onto power. This federal court victory returns the power to hardworking Floridians and now all candidates will have to campaign on a more level playing field. Across the country, we will continue to challenge unlawful provisions that threaten fair elections and silence the voices of the American people.”
From DSCC Chairwoman Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto:
“Today’s ruling confirms these problematic ballot order statutes unfairly impact elections, and throwing them out is a win for Florida and for the states across the country facing similar issues. We are committed to protecting voters’ rights to participate in fairly administered elections and will continue to fight unconstitutional biases that undermine those rights.”
From Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo:
“This is a huge victory for Florida voters. This law was another attempt by Florida Republicans to unconstitutionally sway an election – and give Republicans an unfair advantage. In a state where elections are decided by less than half a percentage point — this is a monumental ruling.”