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House Republicans rewrite elections law

by John Kennedy | April 21st, 2011

The Florida House approved a controversial overhaul of state election laws, a move Republicans said would blunt voter fraud and Democrats said was aimed at weakening the party and President Obama’s re-election bid in a critical toss-up state.

“This bill will bring uniformity and clarity to the election code,” said Majority Leader Carlos Lopez-Cantera, R-Miami. “It won’t stop a voters’ voice from being heard. But it will stop a voter’s voice from being heard twice.”

The measure was approved 79-37 in a party-line vote. Democrats had fiercely fought the legislation (CS/HB 1355) unsuccessfully proposing 40 amendments Wednesday night in an attempt to derail the bill.

Democrats said the measure was intended to damage key voter constituencies that helped power Obama to victory in Florida in 2008.

“This is nothing mpore than an anti-woman, anti-youth, anti-minority bill designed to skew elections in one direction,” said Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando.

The legislation (CS/HB 1355) would put tight restrictions on groups that register voters – making the League of Women Voters, unions, the NAACP and others submit lists of prospective new voters to elections supervisors within 48 hours, or face $1,000 fines.

The registration requirements, deadlines and even heavier financial penalties against so-called third-party registration organizations were approved by the GOP-led legislature in 2006.

But the measures were thrown out by a court, because they were considered overly punitive. The  latest version modifies the penalties, and supporters think it will withstand any challenge.

In another controversial provision, the bill also would create new standards that critics warn could endanger ballots cast by voters away from their home counties – a move some see as designed to blunt the participation of Democratic-leaning college students in next year’s presidential contest.

“What problem are we fixing?” said Rep. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth.

For petition gatherers involved in ballot measures, the bill reduces the length of time signatures are valid from four years to two years.

7 Responses to “House Republicans rewrite elections law”

  1. HM Says:

    It’s your own damm fault, Democrats. Maybe next time you’ll stop caving to niche-y little corners of special interest and minority voters to come up with unelectable candidates ….and actually offer candidate who can win at a state level.

    This is your tree. You’re sitting in it.

  2. Malcolm Wormser Says:

    Hope that this so called bill bites the Republicans where it will H U R T

  3. Abe Says:

    Democrats are blatantly hypocritical on voting issues. A Democrat SA harassed Ann Coulter with felony charges for voting in a precinct other than her own.

    But of course the dems are all for allowing illegals to register to vote with no picture ID or proof of citizenship.

  4. AK Says:

    Leave it to the Florida Republicans to try to control the votes. Just look at the maps of their districts. Totally wrong. If their bill somehow passes, it can be revoked. Better yet, put it on a ballot so we can tell them no, no and hell no!

  5. paulette mitchell Says:

    CB/HB1355 will not stopped my family and others that are legal to vote, many lost their lives so that we can vote, to others it was a priviledge. Nothing can stop us!

  6. Big Johnson Says:

    Republican mantra: If it’s not broken, break it!

  7. Big Johnson Says:

    @Abe, it IS a felony to vote in a precinct other than where you live. Ever notice how its always the republicans who want to change the voting laws or redraw the district lines? When republicans leave a state to avoid voting on legislation they don’t like its called good strategy. When democrats do it its called shirking their duties.

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