News that Florida Governor Rick Scott intends to resume his failed voter purge has recently made headlines. The potential negative impact of this purge is serious, and FELN joins many others who are concerned about the Governor’s latest efforts.
Today, the Voting Rights Act turns 47 years old. The 1965 law was passed to put an end to Jim Crow-era laws that, along with intimidation and violence, disenfranchised black Americans in the South. Even when black southerners were able to register to vote, they were often required to pass literacy tests, recite the preamble of the Constitution from memory, and pay poll taxes. The Voting Rights Act gave the federal government the tools to prevent discriminatory voting practices passed by the states and guarantee the right to vote for all eligible voters.
Today, the Fair Elections Legal Network (FELN), along with the Advancement Project, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, and Project Vote filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida challenging the legality of the program because it is in violation of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). Last month, FELN along with five other organizations, sent a letter
Last week Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner demanded that the Department of Justice answer a few questions pertaining to the state’s ability to access databases they claim would refine their voter purge. They gave the DOJ until Monday to respond. Unfortunately for the state, and the Florida tax payers who will eventually have to pay the bill, the response may not have been what they were hoping for.
The state of Florida has incorrectly identified numerous citizens for removal from the voter rolls leading up to the November election, leaving numerous groups questioning the motivation behind the purge and reminding many of the faulty voter purges that took place in 2000 and 2004.
Michigan’s House Redistricting and Elections Committee heard testimony this week on SB 754, a bill that would make it more difficult for community organizations to run voter registration drives. The bill would also require voters to show a photo ID when they vote at the polls.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently remarked in its opposition to changes to Florida’s voting laws that the state is not doing enough to protect minorities from discrimination. In light of the recent furor surrounding the Treyvon Martin case, a statement like that coming from the DOJ would not come as a surprise to many. Yet this has been largely underreported. While national attention is paid to the Texas and South Carolina election cases, Florida coverage lacks.
Today the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights will hold a hearing in Tampa, FL on new laws that would make it harder for voters to register, cast a ballot, and have their vote counted.