First, on Thursday, the Federal District Court in Miami granted a preliminary injunction effectively blocking several key provisions of Florida’s new and restrictive voter registration laws.
Calling the new registration requirements “onerous,” the judge sided with the National Urban League, our Florida affiliates and a coalition of civil rights and voting rights groups who believe that these illegitimate and burdensome restrictions have only one purpose – to suppress the votes of millions of Floridians.
A second victory for voting rights occurred on Thursday when the U.S. Department of Justice Voting Section informed Florida’s Secretary of State that the State’s current effort to purge voting rolls – allegedly to keep non-citizens from voting – was likely in violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the 1993 National Voter Registration Act. The State has targeted about 2,700 so-called ineligible voters for removal from the rolls unless they provide proof of citizenship within 30 days. The effort is so flawed that hundreds of legal residents, including several heroic World War II veterans, have received insulting letters demanding proof of citizenship.
In its letter challenging the State’s actions, the Justice Department said that Florida failed to comply with Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act because it has not, as required, submitted any changes affecting voting to the federal court or the Attorney General for review. The letter also stated that under the National Voter Registration Act, any program to eliminate ineligible persons from the voting rolls must be completed 90 days prior to a Federal primary or general election and must be “uniform and non-discriminatory.” With Florida’s primary slated for August 14th, the State has clearly missed the deadline.
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