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Florida seeks Justice Dept. preclearance for new elections law

by John Kennedy | June 8th, 2011

The U.S. Justice Department was asked by Florida officials Wednesday to approve the state’s sweeping new elections law for five counties that need such preclearance under the federal Voting Rights Act.

Secretary of State Kurt Browning submitted documents detailing law changes under CS/HB 1355, which Gov. Rick Scott signed into law May 18 over opposition from legislative Democrats, the League of Women Voters, NAACP and other organizations.

Critics of the law said it is designed to blunt Democratic turnout and weaken voter registration efforts in advance of the 2012 elections.

┬áThe ACLU of Florida, the national ACLU, and Project Vote, a Washington, D.C., voters’ rights organization, sued last week in Miami federal court to stop statewide implementation of the law until Justice Department approval is obtained.

Browning had said earlier that he would not seek to enforce the state’s new standards in Hendry, Collier, Hardee, Hillsborough and Monroe counties until receiving Justice Department approval.

But he has gone ahead and ordered the new law to take effect in Florida’s 62 other counties, a move which triggered the ACLU legal challenge.

State and federal law require the state to have uniform elections laws.

“It looks like Browning is now trying to speed-up the process in hopes of covering up the mistake he made by ordering the law to take effect,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida.

Browning has defended his action, saying the new measure was to take effect upon becoming law. He acknowledged that preclearance was needed before the measure could be enforced in the five counties.

The Justice Department has at least 60 days to review documents submitted Wednesday by Browning.

Critics of the new law say it is designed to make registering to vote and casting ballots more difficult for minorities and low-income voters, who typically vote Democratic. Scott and Republican legislative leaders said the new standards

The law imposes strict regulation of third-party registration groups, including requiring that they turn in registration forms within 48 hours after they are signed. It also reduces the number of days available for early voting in Florida, although county election supervisors are required to maintain the same, 98 hours made available before Election Day.

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5 Responses to “Florida seeks Justice Dept. preclearance for new elections law”

  1. Terry Says:

    Kurt Browning’s explanation for those five counties appears straightforward, truthful and accurate.

    Why is there a need to make it an opinion piece against minorities?

    Don’t you want fair elections?

    Is there a reason for holding on to completed voter registrations longer than 48 hours?

    Why would you need to do anything but furnish the stamp and allow the potential voter to mail it in?

    Actually, do we even want voters who don’t bother to do motor voter simultaneous registration?

    Or won’t make the effort on their self-initiative?

    The Super Majority Republican Legislature responded to our demands to clean up the Dumbocrat voter fraud…

    …notice we hear nothing about PBC’s failure to delete 6,000 felons illegally registered …
    … or the 100,000 Dumbocrat Israelis that haven’t lived in FL for 20 years.

    RPPL… Thanx for trolling them Komrade Randy!!

  2. Sun Tzu Says:

    Since voter fraud has been so rampant as you say I guess that explaines how Scott and the Rep. majority got elected!!!! We need to void the results of this fraudulent election and hold a new one ASAP.
    ( makes you wonder why only the prevailing party knows all about this ” RAMPANT FRAUD” )( kinda sounds like an admission of guilt)

  3. Sun Tzu Says:

    Hey, obiwannabe,
    So what is the problem with registrations held more than 48 hrs? You afraid 2 democrat registrations might get together and have ” little democrat registrations”? Reproduce right there in the box?

  4. Oh Please Says:

    Having worked during the 2008 elections and seeing what really goes on, year after year. We need very strong registration laws because there are a lot of people voting that should not be voting at all. Foreigners, citizens voting twice-here and in another state or via absentee and later on at the polls. It all needs to change. Over 8000 or so votes in Wisconsin were not legal votes. The same happens in FL….

  5. Marilyn Brown Says:

    Remember the year 2000? There was a small SupremeCourt decision that said that gwbush was declared president because the counting was not uniform. So, therefore, no more counting. What are the odds that this will be enacted again in this situation?? I’d say slim to none.

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