ACLU wants Senate hearings on voter law before Jan. 31 prez primaryby John Kennedy | November 16th, 2011
The ACLU of Florida, already suing to overturn the state’s new voting law, urged a Senate panel Wednesday to hold its planned hearing on the measure — preferably before the state’s Jan. 31 presidential primary.
Illinois Democrat Richard Durbin said Tuesday that his Senate subcommittee will hold a ”field hearing” in Florida on the voting standards approved earlier this year by the Republican-ruled Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott.
The state’s senior senator, Democrat Bill Nelson, called for Durbin to stage the hearing, saying the new measure is designed to blunt Democratic turnout in next year’s presidential election – by imposing stricter limits on third-party groups that register voters and shortening the number of days available for early voting.
Florida is among 14 Republican-ruled states where new voting laws have been approved that Democrats and allied groups say are motivated by presidential politics.
”We agree with your assessment that these new restrictions will disenfranchise a great number of Floridians including young, disabled and lower income voters,” ACLU executive director Howard Simon wrote Durbin. “Moreover, these restrictions were intended to, and will, have a regressive impact on the voting rights of racial and language minority voters in violation of the Voting Rights Act.”
Simon said Durbin’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights should consider holding three hearings, in Fort Lauderdale, St. Petersburg, and Tallahassee — before the scheduled Jan. 31 primary.