Court Strikes Down Florida Early Voting Law

Court rules that it discriminates against minorities
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2012 8:31 AM CDT
Voters stand in line to vote at an early voting site in Charlotte, near an NAACP sign in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

(Newser) – A federal court yesterday ruled that a new Florida law restricting early voting would not be implemented in the five historically black districts covered by the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Section 5 of the Act allows the government to review election laws in places with a history of racial discrimination. The three-judge panel ruled that the change "would make it materially more difficult for some minority voters to cast a ballot," the AP reports.

Minorities have a habit of voting early in Florida. The law, passed by Florida's Republican legislature last year, cut the early voting window from 12 days to eight, and specifically banned voting on the Sunday before the election, which happens to be when black churches usually hold "Souls to the Polls" events, the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting explains. "It's clearly targeting minorities," an ACLU official tells WFSU. But the court did say it would be possible to change early voting in a non-discriminatory way.

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