New Voting Laws in Florida and 13 Other States May Affect 5 Million Eligible Voters, Study Says

Categories: Politics
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New voting laws passed in 14 states -- states that control 171 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win a presidential election -- could make voting "significantly harder" for more than 5 million people who are actually eligible to vote, according to a new study.

As many as 1 million of those people could be Florida citizens, due to the implementation of just one law.

Research from the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law says it's too early to tell exactly what type of impact the various states' new laws will have but echoes the sentiment that was raised often in opposition to those laws when they were being considered.

"These new restrictions fall most heavily on young, minority, and low-income voters, as well as voters with disabilities," the study says. "This wave of changes may sharply tilt the political terrain for the 2012 election."

The report highlights five types of voting laws enacted across the 14 states in question -- photo ID laws, proof of citizenship laws, voter registration limits, a reduction of early and absentee voting days, and tougher rules for restoring voting rights.

Only Florida and Tennessee enacted laws that spanned three of those categories.

Florida now has tighter restrictions on voter registration drives, has reduced early-voting periods, and has reversed a prior executive action to make it easier for felons to restore their rights.

As you may recall, while the Florida Legislature was attempting to pass the restrictions on voter-registration drives -- which passed almost exactly along party lines -- supporters of the bill weren't ashamed to admit they were trying to make voting harder.

"But I have to tell you, I don't have a problem making it harder," Republican State Sen. Mike Bennett is quoted in the study as saying. "I want people in Florida to want to vote as bad as that person in Africa who walks 200 miles across the desert. This should not be easy."

Republican State Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff was also quoted as saying, "Democracy should not be a convenience."

When it comes to the age-old belief that many voting laws discourage minorities, this study actually attempts to provide some evidence.

Florida has eliminated early voting on the last Sunday before Election Day.

According to the study, African-American voters -- and to a lesser extent, Hispanic voters -- vote on Sundays at a proportionately larger rate than white voters.

Of all the early voting days before the 2008 general election, 13.4 percent of the early voters in Florida were African-Americans, and 11.6 were Hispanic.

On the last Sunday before Election Day, African-Americans contributed 33.2 percent of the Florida votes, and 23.6 percent were Hispanic.

Then there's Gov. Rick Scott's order to change the state's clemency rules, which the study doesn't appear to be pleased about:

Governor Scott changed Florida's clemency rules, and the change denies the right to vote to hundreds of thousands, maybe as many as a million, Florida citizens. These changes make Florida the most punitive state in the country when it comes to disenfranchising people with criminal convictions in their past.

The Florida Constitution denies the right to vote for life to anyone with a felony conviction, unless he is granted clemency by the governor. It essentially gives the governor, an elected official, the power to decide who will (or will not) be allowed to vote in the next election.

The study points out that Scott's changes are more restrictive than that of former governors Charlie Crist and Jeb Bush and calls the law "the most restrictive in the country."

To see the report in its entirety -- which includes concise explanations of all the voting laws passed among the states -- click here.


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16 comments
icecycle66
icecycle66

Nothing in this article or the law says a person can't vote.  It simply means they must follow the rules and vote at a particular time and place.

I don't see what's so hard abou that.

If you don't want to go through the trouble of doing it right and in accordance with the laws as agreed upon by the representatives of the state districts, then don't vote.

FQS9000
FQS9000

Democrats love to make voting easy for the lazy, the stupid, illegals and criminals because democrats believe that those groups are dumb enough to buy democrat lies, half truths and fables.  The fact that those groups frequently make lousy decisions is fine by them.  It also is easier to commit voter fraud with loosy goosy registration laws, also a favorite democrat election tactic, as all is fair when electing a liberal.

Felons, idiots, and non-citizens should never be permitted to vote for the people who will run our lives.  This is common sense to everybody but democrats.

If someone doesn't care enough to bother registering to vote, then I don't care what they think.  Voting is a privilege, not a right,

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

Even though the cabal of fascists, aka the GOP, know that they can always bamboozle about 40 percent of the population with bullshit, they still hedge even further by placing as many barricades up between the poorest of our citizens and the voting booth. They know that they will always lose that battle.

And I haven't even touched on the rigging of the election machines.

Cause thats what fascists do....

Hung Lo
Hung Lo

Republican State Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff was also quoted as saying, "Democracy should not be a convenience."

Amen, even if you did fight for your country!  You are still no better than some slob coming in on an inner tube!

Lifelong Dem
Lifelong Dem

A 26-year-old Serbian pro tennis player was just banned for life from playing in any sanctioned tennis tournaments anywhere in the world. Why? Because he was making money from gamblers by helping fix the outcome of tennis matches. So if Republicans in state legislatures and the U.S. Congress, acting on behalf of their large corporate donors, fix election laws or tax codes or Wall Street deregulation. shouldn't they be banned from government for life? Didn't someone once say that the government was of the people, by the people, and for the people? Damn, that guy was a fool.

SMDrPepper
SMDrPepper

Looks like the repubs are out to steal an election.Honestly, why reduce early voting?  Coming from a state that has only one day to vote, inevitably when I had to work so had no way TO vote, its a huge convenience.  Or make it like Europe an have voting day on a holiday or something where everyone can vote.But no, nowadays the repubs dont want a government by the people, but rather by the corporation.How is it that they are getting away with this?  Restricting the peoples rights an lining their pockets yet they still get voted into office?Guess this next election is already bought an paid for.

Seeiteveryday
Seeiteveryday

Might be worthwhile to note that the author of the "study", the Brennan Center, has vigorously lobbied against the laws in question and filed lawsuits challenging the laws.

Drethefifth
Drethefifth

You're right. There are rules to voting. They should be followed. Question is, why do those rules change so often.

The people changing the laws didn't have an issue with the current laws that got them elected. . . . . Interesting.

Military people deserve and need the absentee time, so we cut them short while they fight and die for this very voting system were discussing (aka democracy)?

I think EVERY legal citizen should be able to vote, on proof of proper ID. Thats the only restriction that should be imposed. Felons included. Im sure theres a way to sift their choices and disregard anything related to their crime.

IE. A bank robber should have no say in security related bills. A pedophile should have no say in family/child rights. A murderer should have no say in violent crime or fire arm bills.

But issues like taxes, BS freeway projects, State Elected Seat Terms, Education, Medical ect. . . . . . Often enougb have nothing to do with a persons crime and as a citizen we all deserve a fair say on those matters.

tootie
tootie

seems like all GOP white people think that blacks, hispanic etc.are felons,idiots, and non citizens. Lousy decisions, The GOP is just so perfect, stupid, stupid, stupid.

Drethefifth
Drethefifth

Check your facts. Voting is a right.

SMDrPepper
SMDrPepper

Nice to know the right wing nuts will throw out the Constitution at the drop of a hat if it will win them an election.  Oh, and voting is a right by the definition of the Constitution, not a privilege.  Just because not everyone will vote as YOU want them to means nothing.  You and your ilk cannot stop people from voting and you thinking that makes you VERY unAmerican.Damned fool.

GuntherZorn
GuntherZorn

P.S. Voting is more than a privilege. It is a right that can be abridged in certain instances.

GuntherZorn
GuntherZorn

Red herring and complete bullshit. Voter fraud is practically non-existent but it does give a nice sounding excuse to reduce likely democratic voters. The real voter fraud comes from the rigging of voting machines, which is then protected from investigation by ... republican attorneys general! What a shock!

Illegals don't have a right to vote. Felons don't have the right to vote unless the right is restored.

And please cite the constitutional amendment that deprives the lazy and stupid the right to vote. I mean, I know stupid can vote. Florida proves that every two years.

Is that the best you can do?

Seeiteveryday
Seeiteveryday

I don't think that word means what you think it means.

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