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Federal Judge Blocks Florida's Restrictive Early Voting Law

Federal Judge Blocks Florida's Restrictive Early Voting Law

This from TPM:

A panel of federal judges ruled late Thursday that a Florida law that limits the number of early voting days cannot be implemented in several counties because it
would have an adverse impact on minority turnout.

The early voting restrictions are part of a voter suppression package the Republican-controlled state legislature passed last year. Other provisions included disenfranchising 100,000 previously eligible ex-felons who'd been granted the right to vote under Republican Gov. Charlie Crist in 2008 and shutting down non-partisan voter registration drives. In May, a federal judge blocked enforcement of the provision restricting non-partisan voter registration drives.

In addition, Gov. Rick Scott earlier this year instructed his secretary of state to purge the voting rolls of hundreds of thousands of allegedly ineligible voters. As Think Progress reported, Scott's move means:

an excess of 20 percent of the voters flagged as 'non-citizens' in Miami-Dade are, in fact, citizens. And the actual number may be much higher.

Writes Rolling Stone:

If this ratio holds for the rest of the names on the non-citizens list, more than 35,000 eligible voters could be disenfranchised. Those alleged non-citizens have included a 91-year-old World War II veteran who’s voted since he was 18 and a 60-year-old kennel owner who has voted in the state for four decades.

The U.S. Justice Department in May sent a letter to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner demanding the state cease purging its voting rolls because its process has not been cleared under the Voting Rights Act.

Florida is one of 16 states that have passed restrictive voting laws. At least 180 bills restricting voting have been introduced in 41 state legislatures since the beginning of 2011, after the 2010 elections shifted control of 20 state legislative houses from Democrat to Republican. Thirty-four states introduced voter ID requirements that would effectively disenfranchise more than 21 million eligible voters who don’t have the required IDs—mostly people of color, low-income voters, students, seniors and people with disabilities.

The AFL-CIO My Vote, My Right website offers hands-on information on voter registration, voter ID laws and steps to take to protect your right to vote on Election Day. Find out what you need to know to make sure your vote counts this year. Get information on voter registration, your voting rights by state and more at the AFL-CIO’s MyVoteMyRight.org.

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