Florida Ruling a Win for Minorities and Poor
On Thursday, the efforts to purge names and curtail drives for voter registration were dealt legal setbacks that drew cheers from activists for voting rights who say Florida has been trying to prevent certain groups from exercising their rights by voting.
A judge in federal court struck down part of Florida’s new election legislation, which would have applied to the 62 counties that are not subject to the Voting Rights legislation.
The new legislation that was enacted in 2011 would have made it a requirement for groups that registered voters to submit their registration forms within a time limit of 48 hours or pay a fine of $1,000. The judge declared that the law put impractical and harsh restrictions on the different groups working to register new voters.
Groups such as Rock the Vote and Women Voters have opposed the law. The groups register all voters regardless of party affliction and specialize in finding the groups of people who fall through the cracks.
Nevertheless, many of them are low-income, minorities or students, who often times tend to support Democrats. One manager of a group that helps register voters said the new law had slowed down the process of registering voters. She said they used to hold big events to register voters, but with the new 48-hour period requiring votes to be entered, often times events had to be cancelled because there were not enough people to ensure the paperwork would be processed in time.
The judge’s ruling came the same day the Department of Justice warned the state about dropping the names off their registered voting lists of potentially ineligible voters. That effort started when Governor Rick Scott called on Florida authorities to identify non-citizens who were illegally registered.