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  Federal Judge Smacks Down Florida’s Attempt At Voter Suppression
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ContributorGaear Grimsrud 
Last EditedGaear Grimsrud  Jun 01, 2012 09:58am
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CategoryLegal Ruling
AuthorDeborah Montesano
News DateFriday, June 1, 2012 05:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionToday, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle blocked portions of Florida’s year-old voter suppression law, HB 1355. He especially took issue with the “harsh and impractical” requirement that voter-registration forms be turned in within 48 hours of completion. The provision would make it impossible to mail in registrations, since there is no guarantee that the Postal Service would deliver them within the deadline. The decision declares that the deadline serves little, if any, legitimate interest of the state.

The judge also disputed the use of a form, adopted by the Division of Elections, that registration agents would be required to sign. Basically, those agents are volunteers with voter-registration groups. The form implies that the volunteers could be charged with felonies if applications containing false information were submitted, whether the volunteers knew the information was false or not. “This is not the law; the form is just wrong,” writes Hinkle. “Requiring a volunteer not only to sign such a statement, but to swear to it, could have no purpose other than to discourage voluntary participation in legitimate, indeed constitutionally protected, activities.”
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