Federal Court Rules Florida’s Shortening Of Early Voting Discriminates Against Blacks

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August 17, 2012 2:10 a.m.

A panel of federal judges ruled late Thursday that a Florida law that limits the number of early voting days cannot be implemented in several counties because it would have an adverse impact on minority turnout.

Several counties in Florida are covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires certain areas with a history of racial discrimination to have changes to their election laws and procedures precleared by either a federal court or the Justice Department.

The three judge panel ruled that minorities “will be disproportionately affected by the changes in early voting procedures because they disproportionately use early in-person voting.”“In sum, Florida is left with nothing to rebut either the testimony of the defendants’ witnesses or the common-sense judgment that a dramatic reduction in the form of voting that is disproportionately used by African-Americans would make it materially more difficult for some minority voters to cast a ballot than under the benchmark law,” the court ruled.

The Associated Press first reported the ruling, which is embedded below.

Florida Early Voting Decision

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