ed. - Priorities USA and several other groups filed this lawsuit in May 2020 challenging aspects of Florida's vote by mail system.  Among other points, they argued the State of Florida should provide pre-paid postage on vote-by-mail ballots and that ballots postmarked by Election Day should be counted.  In July, shortly before the case was to go to trial, the plaintiffs agreed to dismissal of the case.  Although they did obtain a settlement agreement, the result was seen as a victory for Republicans.



Republican National Committee

July 24, 2020

RNC Wins Again in Florida After Democrats Dismiss Radical Case

WASHINGTON – Today, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the Republican Party of Florida were granted a major victory when Priorities USA and the Democrat plaintiffs dismissed every substantive claim in Nielsen v. DeSantis, a radical lawsuit brought in Florida that among other things, sought to force Florida to count ballots that arrive after Election Day and strike down the state’s ban on ballot harvesting.
"Today’s victory is a win for Florida voters and a win for election integrity. Democrats’ assault on our elections process is not based on fact or reason, which is why they are dismissing every claim in their radical suit. The RNC will continue to step in and fight back against Democrat attempts to circumvent existing law and weaken our elections process.” – RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel
By dismissing this case with prejudice, Democrats are dropping their challenge to circumvent Florida’s ballot harvesting ban, their attempt to allow ballots to arrive after Election Day, and their claim that Florida needs to provide pre-paid postage on vote-by-mail ballots. 
The weakness of their case was particularly highlighted in this deposition, where a Yale University student tried to claim he was disenfranchised by having to travel to a post office to mail back his ballot – even though there was a mailbox in front of his house or a post office six blocks from his house.

  • QUESTION: "Are you aware that you can put your mail in a mailbox and the postal service will pick it up?"
  • ANSWER: "No, there is nowhere to place mail anywhere near my mailbox."
  • QUESTION: "Are you aware that the postal service website gives you several options which allows them to pick your mail up wherever you are?"
  • ANSWER: "No."
Additionally, in another win for Republicans, the state will now have to highlight election integrity measures, including the ballot harvesting ban, in a public relations campaign.

  • "Before the November 2020 General Election, the Secretary shall undertake a social media or other public relation campaign to inform voters of the three available options to vote in Florida:  (1) vote-by-mail, (2) early in-person voting, and (3) in-person Election Day voting"
  • "The campaign shall also highlight safeguards designed to protect the integrity of Florida elections." 
You can view the order here.
Today’s election victory comes on the heels of a major win in the case, when the Clinton-appointed judge denied Democrat attorneys’ motion for preliminary injunction stating that "the plaintiffs have not shown likely success on the merits" of their case.  In this denial, Judge Hinkle specifically noted that counting ballots that arrive after Election Day could leave room for vulnerabilities or fraud.  Seeing the writing on the wall that they could not succeed with even a liberal judge, the Democrats folded their cards.

  • By requiring receipt on or before Election Day, "This eliminates the problem of missing, unclear, or even altered postmarks, eliminates delay that can have adverse consequences, and eliminates the remote possibility that in an extremely close election—Florida has had some—a person who did not vote on or before election day can fill out and submit a ballot later."


The RNC continues to fight back against the Democrats’ assault on the integrity of our elections by intervening in left-wing backed lawsuits across the country. Recently, the RNC was handed another major victory when we voluntary dismissed a case in California after defeating Governor Newsom’s unconstitutional Executive Order that would destroy California’s election integrity. Additionally, the RNC intervened to protect election integrity in Minnesota against Democrat attempts to remove ballot deadlines by Election Day and prevent the sending of ballots to inactive voters. The Republicans recently sued Clark County in Nevada for hiding evidence of a shady backroom election deal. The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania also recently handed Republicans a big victory, throwing out a left-wing lawsuit to allow ballots to be counted after Election Day. Similar radical lawsuits are being fought in states like Michigan, New Mexico, and Arizona. The RNC recently doubled its legal budget to $20 million to fight these efforts, and you can learn more at www.ProtectTheVote.com.

Republican Party of Florida

Florida GOP Declares Victory: Democrat-Aligned Groups Drop Lawsuit Challenging Florida’s Vote-by-Mail Laws on Eve of Trial

RPOF, RNC, and NRCC Protect Election Integrity Ahead of 2020

TALLAHASSEE – Today, one day before trial was scheduled to start in federal court in the Northern District of Florida, a group of Democrat-aligned organizations including Priorities USA and the Dream Defenders entered into a settlement agreement with the Florida Secretary of State and the RPOF, RNC, and NRCC dismissing their lawsuit challenging Florida’s vote-by-mail laws.

The Republican Party of Florida intervened in this lawsuit in May along with the Republican National Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee to help defend Florida’s laws that ensure the safety and security of vote-by-mail.  Among other things, the Democrat-aligned organizations were attempting to have Florida’s ban on paid vote-by-mail ballot harvesting declared unconstitutional; to require supervisors of elections to count vote-by-mail ballots received after election day; and to require the state to provide pre-paid postage on all vote-by-mail ballots.  After the Republicans defeated the Democrat-aligned organizations’ attempt at a preliminary injunction last month, the organizations decided to settle the case in order to avoid an even worse loss at trial.

RPOF Chairman Joe Gruters, said, “Floridians choosing to vote-by-mail must have confidence that their vote will be safe and secure.  RPOF intervened in this lawsuit to protect Florida’s vote-by-mail safeguards that were under attack by Democrat special interests.  We are glad that the Democrat-aligned organizations finally saw the light and dropped their lawsuit. We are pleased Florida’s strong laws will remain in place for 2020 when Florida reelects President Trump.”

The consolidated case is: Nielsen v. DeSantis Case No. 4:20-cv-236-RH and Dream Defenders v. DeSantis, Case No. 1:20-cv-67-RH.


Priorities USA
July 20, 2020

Priorities USA Announces Settlement Agreement in Florida Vote By Mail Legal Challenge

Today, Priorities USA announced a settlement agreement with Florida officials on a lawsuit that challenged multiple provisions of the state’s restrictive vote by mail laws. The suit was filed with the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, Alianza for Progress, Inc., and several individual voters.

The measures outlined in today’s settlement will ensure that Florida makes notable investments in election administration that helps local citizens overcome the unnecessary barriers to vote by mail amid the current global health crisis. The settlement will also ensure that existing laws will not further disenfranchise marginalized communities who are most impacted by the coronavirus. This includes exploring the use of federal coronavirus relief to provide prepaid postage for mail ballots and encouraging an increase in the number of early voting sites across the state.

Through the settlement, state officials have also agreed to:

  • Conduct workshops with elections officials on the implementation of mail barcode and intelligent ballot tracking by November so that voters can know when their ballot has been delivered to polling places.
  •  Conduct a campaign to educate voters about best practices for voting by mail, including steps for voters to follow to ensure mail ballots are timely received by election officials.
  • Develop a document for elections officials to inform voters who cannot afford return postage that drop boxes are available or they may mail the ballot without postage or drop the ballot off at the Elections Office.
  • Install ballot drop boxes at polling stations during early voting and Election Day with a permanent box at the Elections office. If a polling place does not have a drop box, adequate signage to one will be provided.
  • Expand voter outreach and registration in Spanish and English to specifically target eligible unregistered voters, senior citizens, college students, and communities of color through discussions and community engagement.
  •  Encourage expansion of the number of early voting sites to allow for social distancing and encourage an increase of the number of early voting days to the maximum allowed by law.
  • Contact Florida citizens throughout the state who are eligible to vote but have not registered to invite them to register and to inform them of the different methods of voting available to them.

“The provisions outlined in this settlement are just some of the investments needed to ensure that Floridians are not forced to choose between risking their lives and casting a ballot,” said Guy Cecil, Chairman of Priorities USA. “The settlement establishes a set of commitments by Florida election officials to expand voting rights and opportunities across the state. But there is more work to do and we will continue to challenge the state of Florida and to fight the anti-voting rights Republican National Committee to make sure everyone can vote in November.”

“The settlement moves the needle forward for communities most affected by COVID19 by requiring the state to work harder to make sure vote by mail is handled efficiently and that people of color and the elderly are not disenfranchised when voting by mail,” said Marcos Vilar, Executive Director of Alianza for Progress. “We did not get all that we asked for, but we’ve moved the ball forward. We’ll continue to work on making sure every vote counts and removing barriers this administration has sought to limit our right to vote, especially during a pandemic.”

“This agreement is a victory for all eligible older voters in Florida,” said Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “As a direct result of this suit, every Florida voter who needs to can cast a vote by mail and know that it will be counted. Florida’s COVID-19 cases continue to surge. It is essential that seniors avoid standing in long lines and avoid unnecessary risk while they exercise their right vote.”