The University of Florida has ordered its professors not to take part in a case challenging voting rights restrictions, saying it would put them on a collision course with the state government. The lawsuit plaintiffs want to question Gov. Ron DeSantis about the university’s decision, but his lawyers have balked, arguing any discussions he had about it would contain privileged information. The suit seeks to overturn Florida’s new law restricting voting rights, similar to legislation in Georgia and Texas that sharply limited ballot drop boxes. According to a motion filed Friday in federal court, university officials emailed professor Michael McDonald in October 2020 to inform him that he could not be involved in the suit since “litigation against the state is adverse to UF’s interests.” Around the same time, professors Dan Smith and Sharon Austin received similar messages. “Outside activities that may pose a conflict of interest to the executive branch of the State of Florida create a conflict for the University of Florida,” read the email to Smith. McDonald researches elections and voter turnout and has assisted the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, according to his university bio. Smith, the chair of the college’s department of political science, researches voting rights and elections, and Austin studies African-American political behavior. The three professors have testifie . . . read the full article here.
Keywords: voting, state, university, professors, rights, witnesses, smith, case, florida, desantis, wont, stay, orders
DATE: 2018, Friday, October 2020