Judge to Lift Restrictions on Florida Voter Registration


By:  Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Date: Aug. 29, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20) released the following statement after it was reported that U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle has announced he will issue a permanent injunction to prohibit Florida from enforcing parts of the voting law that tightened deadlines for groups conducting voter registration drives to submit registration forms:

"A thriving democracy depends on the ability of voters to cast their ballots and have their votes count. Today's announcement puts us one step closer to ensuring that voters will be able to do just that. Judge Hinkle said in May that the state cannot require groups to submit registration forms within 48 hours or face $1,000 fines. By striking down this law, groups that help millions of Americans register through voter registration drives, like the non-partisan League of Women Voters, will now have 10 days to submit voter forms, as they did before the law was changed.

"This sends a strong message to the Scott Administration and Republicans in the Florida Legislature who have tried to create barriers to voting by mandating strict time limits and threatening hefty fines on third-party registration groups for not meeting those deadlines."

"Unfortunately, some provisions of the state voter suppression law remain in place: there are only 8 days allowed for Early Voting, instead of the 14 many voters have taken advantage of in past elections; early voting is prohibited on the Sunday before Election Day, which is a popular day for many churches to organize voters to go to the polls; and voters who update their address at the voting booth will have to fill out provisional ballots instead of a regular ballot.

"We must keep fighting to ensure that all citizens who are eligible to vote can vote, and work to tear down barriers like those created by this onerous state law."

According to the Associated Press, Judge Hinkle has said he intends to issue a permanent injunction once the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta dismisses the state's appeal of a preliminary injunction he issued on May 31 or sends the case back to him.

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