Florida Law Would Drastically Cut Minority Votes
A federal court has said that a new law in Florida that restricts the quantity of early voting days might result in a large reduction of voting by the black community. The Florida legislature, which is controlled by the Republicans, cut last year the amount of days for early-voting to just eight from the original 12.
However, the Court in the District of Columbia ruled on Thursday that since the law’s potential impact is on the minority voters, it would not allow the state of Florida to apply the changes to the law in five counties in Florida.
The court announced that enough evidence had been presented to clearly show that black voters used early voting at a much higher rate than white voters did, especially during the 2008 election when the state was won by President Obama.
A panel of three judges made the decision and said that Florida could not rebut common sense judgement or the testimony of witnesses that a large reduction of the form of voting that is disproportionately used by blacks would make it more difficult for minority voters to vote.
The ruling, which was 119 pages long, did however say that there were other ways the state could come up with an idea to change the early voting that would not impact adversely the voting rights of minorities. However, the ruling increases the prospect that Florida is going to have two separate forms of early voting for the presidential election in November.
The changes in early voting were in the broad election law that shortened the amount of time for voter registration groups to hand in all the forms and forced potential voters to vote on provisional ballots if they had to change their address on Election Day.