Judge Shuts Down Restrictive Florida Voter Registration Rules

ProudProgressive 2012/06/01 03:49:01
It is truly gratifying to see that at least some of our nation's judges still consider the right of American citizens to vote to be an important thing, something to be aided and encouraged, not blocked by any means necessary. The Right Wing fears a free and fair election more than almost anything else, but if our nation's judiciary stands strong, democracy may yet survive the latest attempted hostile takeover.

Article excerpt follows:

Judge Shuts Down Restrictive Florida Voter Registration Rules
By Kenneth Quinnell
May 31, 2012 06:00 PM

As part of a broader assault on the voting rights of Floridians, Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a bill in 2011 that placed severe restrictions and penalties on third party groups that attempt to register new voters. A federal judge ruled Thursday that the law was unconstitutional.

The second, less-well-known effort, is a new set of Florida state rules that make it very difficult to register new voters, and create severe penalties for anyone who doesn't precisely comply with them. These rules are so onerous that many groups that formerly routinely ran voter registration drives, like the League of Women Voters, stopped doing it because they found the new rules were impossible to comply with.

Now, thanks to a lawsuit by the League of Women Voters of Florida, Florida Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, and Rock the Vote, a federal judge in Tallahassee, no hotbed of liberalism, has issued a preliminary injunction halting enforcement of key parts of the voter-registration-suppression scheme:

"The statute and rule impose a harsh and impractical 48-hour deadline for an organization to deliver applications to a voter registration office and effectively prohibit an organization from mailing applications in. And the statute and rule impose burdensome record-keeping and reporting requirements that serve little if any purpose, thus rendering them unconstitutional even to the extent they do not violate the [National Voting Rights Act]."

Via press release, numerous groups applauded the ruling:

"Today's ruling is a clear victory for Florida voters," said Lee Rowland, counsel for the Brennan Center's Democracy Program, one of the attorneys who argued the case for the Plaintiffs. "The Florida legislature has tried repeatedly to stifle access to voter registration opportunities. By halting onerous provisions of the law, the court has stood up for voters and for civic groups across the state helping Floridians register to vote."

The Brennan Center for Justice, which represented the groups in the lawsuit, will hold a media conference call at 4:00 PM EST to discuss the decision. Please dial 800-651-2087, and use the passcode 32594759. Representatives from the League of Women Voters, Rock the Vote, and Florida PIRG will also be on the call.

"For over 72 years, League volunteers have faithfully and successfully helped to register eligible Florida voters," explained Deirdre Macnab, President of the League of Women Voters of Florida. "We are hopeful that this ruling will enable us to continue this important work. Florida's anti-voter law creates impassable roadblocks for our volunteers, who are simply trying to bring fellow citizens into our democratic process. We are grateful the court recognized that the Constitution does not tolerate these types of barriers to civic participation and voter registration."

"As the nation's largest young voter organization, we've dedicated more than two decades to educating and empowering young people to participate in our nation's democracy," stated Heather Smith, President of Rock the Vote. "Rock the Vote has encouraged hundreds of thousands of young Florida residents to have a voice in their community and country. Today's ruling is a victory for them, and for our democracy. We will quickly assess whether this ruling will allow us to restart our critical voter registration work on the ground in Florida."

"Our representative democracy relies on an engaged citizenry, yet voter turnout in Florida remains far too low," added Brad Ashwell of the Florida Public Interest Research Education Fund. "That's why we work to sign up thousands of first time voters across the state each election cycle. We are pleased the court froze the majority of this law, so we can continue to fulfill this mission."

"We are pleased that our clients and civic groups all across the State of Florida demonstrated the intimidation and threat of punishment created by this unconstitutional law," said Robert Atkins, a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP representing the plaintiffs.

"This is a resounding victory for the Constitution and Florida citizens against a clear attempt to suppress political participation," added Howard Simon of the ACLU of Florida.

Read More: http://crooksandliars.com/kenneth-quinnell/judge-s...

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Top Opinion

  • zbacku 2012/06/01 03:58:28
    What a shame. I have to show a photo ID to cash a check and rent movies, but I can walk in and vote for my neighbor.

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  • luvguins 2012/06/05 03:47:16
    Today, Scott's purge supervisors across the state said they were ceasing their investigative activitry even though Scott and his SOS are not backing down from the DOJ's directive.
  • kudabux 2012/06/02 00:35:04
    Good call by the judge.

    In NJ, when I first registered years ago, I was given a 'voters' registration card' with a little American flag in the corner. It was to be used at the polls in case a poll worker 'challenged' you. Then, somewhere along the line, 'challenging became 'illegal' and no more cards were given out. Well, when I moved to a different city, I had to re-register and guess what? I was given my precious little 'voters registration card'. I have never had the opportunity to use it though.

    My question: why doesn't everyone have a voters registration card? voters registration card
  • Raymond Allamby 2012/06/02 00:05:12 (edited)
    Raymond Allamby
    now lets hope all of the targeted 186,000 people, are angry enough to get out and vote this election. talk about shooting yourself in the foot, rick scott used a cannon to do it.
  • kudabux Raymond... 2012/06/02 00:29:03
    Great idea!
  • CHUCK - Liberal in Seattle 2012/06/01 23:07:01
    CHUCK - Liberal in Seattle
    Thank God!!!
  • Rebel Yell 2012/06/01 16:49:42
    Rebel Yell
    Voter fraud is not the major problem. With everyone armed with a camera phone, it is hard to pull off. But voter suppression is alive, well, and kicking.

    In Ohio in 2004, the GOP Sec. of State made sure that polling places around Cleveland wouldn't have enough voting machines for the amount of people who wanted to vote. Consequently, instead of waiting in line for hours and hours, people walked away. In the rural areas and the suburbs of Cincy voters were told the polling places had been relocated.Of course, the classic case of indirect voter suppression was the "Brooks Brothers Riot" in Dade County Florida in 2000 where a cadre of GOP goons disrupted the election board from counting ballots.

    Voter fraud is a small player in elections now, especially given the Republican cheerleading for Citizens United. Hundreds of millions of dollars from anonymous donors will erode voter confidence much faster than what occurs at polling places. That is the narrative we should pursue...CU negates voter authenticity far more than a million Black Panthers could ever do.
  • Charge 2012/06/01 16:46:18
    The Obama Vote Nazi's are invading another state trying to save their illegal vote for a desperate attempt to steal the 2012 election. I hope Florida continues the illegal and dead person purge in spite of the overreaching Obama Justice Dept.
  • The Ele... Charge 2012/06/01 22:18:16
    The Electrician
    Dead people don't vote and NO ONE can vote in their place. It would be appearent when you sign the voter registration rolls prior to being given a ballot, The signatures have to match.
  • wildcat 2012/06/01 16:10:02
    Thank God, this crap is coming out now.
  • ruralntex 2012/06/01 16:05:08
    In Texas, one fills out a simple name and address type questionairre and drops it in the mail box. The postage is pre-paid. I am sure that it is very similar in Florida.Considering this and add in a third party voter registration person or organization, what could that person or organization possibly do? They can hand out the little questionairre and even help them fill the damned thing out and then drop it in the mail box for them. As long as the registrant signed the thing and the information is correct, the thing should be above board. Where the questions regarding these things becomes a bit sketchy is when an organization like Acorn hands in piles of them. Perhaps the restriction should be 48 hours if not mailed.
  • The Ele... ruralntex 2012/06/01 22:23:18
    The Electrician
    It takes 10 days in Florida and you have to give your S.S. number and your signature is compared to to the ones on the rolls from previous events. If there is any tampering with the rolls, it's on the part of the people in the election process, so far it is mostly Republicans that are tampering with the rolls.
  • ComeOnNow 2012/06/01 15:57:33
    It is clearly vital to maintain the integrity of the elections from the radical left that has proven time and time again that they will do anything to destroy this country. It is absolutely not a coincidence that you radicals oppose things as common sense are requiring to show I'd and making sure that only those eligible to vote do. I am not for anything out of the ordinary, simply making sure that you are who you say you are when you vote. That is not that difficult.
  • The Ele... ComeOnNow 2012/06/01 22:26:25
    The Electrician
    I've been voting for 48 years and always had to show ID. Everyone should have some kind of ID to prove who they are to get a valid voter registration and they should have it well in advance of voting.
  • ComeOnNow The Ele... 2012/06/02 17:25:03
    It only seems to make sense to require ID. You have to question the motives of anyone or any party that fights so hard to prevent simple and common sense measures to maintain te integrity of our elections.
  • The Ele... ComeOnNow 2012/06/02 23:10:27
    The Electrician
    The GOP is in actuality the minority party and this is their effort to "outright" suppress the votes of Democrats, Independents, minorities and the lower income, I can't really blame them, but they can cause the election to be fixed in their favor just like they did in 2000 and 2004 and look what that lead to.
  • ComeOnNow The Ele... 2012/06/03 03:40:03 (edited)
    That is nonsense. The GOP simply wants a fair election. It is sad that the democrats think so low of their members and minorities to think that they are too incompetent to get an ID
  • The Ele... ComeOnNow 2012/06/03 06:57:07
  • ComeOnNow The Ele... 2012/06/03 22:06:25
    The republicans are clearly the ones that actually want a fair election. Why else would the democrats be so scared to simply require people to only vote once and only those that are legally able to do so.
  • The Ele... ComeOnNow 2012/06/04 14:58:51
    The Electrician
    People can only vote once. Try voting "twice" and see what happens.
  • ComeOnNow The Ele... 2012/06/04 17:22:46
    Right now all you need is someone else's name. It is also easy for illegals to vote as well under the current system
  • beavith1 2012/06/01 14:19:45
    well, Brad, we're a 'representative republic,' not a 'representative democracy'.

    i don't think that anyone wants anything BUT a free and fair election. the democrats seem to want a little slop in who signs up. the republicans seem to want an accurate list.

    i'm not sure where the trouble is.

    where is the intimidation? making them go to a DMV to get a picture ID? or the act of having to show ANY sort of ID at the polls when we are other wise required to show ID for any number of things in real life.

    yeah. this judge is a genius. he ought to fit right into a 9th circuit court...
  • FAWKES' NOOSE ~ ΔTX 2012/06/01 13:35:45
    "I have to show my ID to cash a check or rent a movie..."

    Having a checking account is a privilege, not a right. Renting movies is a privilege, not a right. You must follow whatever rules that may be imposed to utilize a privilege.

    Voting is a right. These nitwits need to learn the difference.
  • beavith1 FAWKES'... 2012/06/01 14:21:27
    so the nitwits need not see ANY proof of who you are?

    why not vote 20 times then?
  • The Ele... beavith1 2012/06/01 22:32:51
    The Electrician
    You can't vote more more than once. It's impossible, if you think otherwise, try it yourself. I tried it the last time and they had me escorted out of the building. They knew what I was doing. Stop watching these "doctored" BS videos. You can't vote more than once !
  • beavith1 The Ele... 2012/06/01 23:56:55
    my in laws died 5 and 7 years ago. their names are still on the rolls.

    i toyed with the idea of voting 3 times, but i chickened out. how many people don't chicken out?

    with no ID required i could vote using either one of their names.

    as far as Project Veritas goes, those weren't doctored videos. its THAT easy to get an illegal ballot AND VOTE IT in NH.

    it was so embarrassing the the NH Sec of State put out an arrest warrant for the guy for tampering in an election. he won't come back to NH because he fears being served/arrested.
  • The Ele... beavith1 2012/06/02 01:08:09
    The Electrician
    You didn't "chicken out" you just did the right thing. I don't know where you got the idea that anyone can walk right in and vote? You have to be registered to vote. Are you old enough to vote, have you consulted your local board of elections ? You don't really sound very well informed. I personally know my election supervisor and she's assured me it can't be done, even if we wanted too. I lost my voter ID and had to go down to the election board and show proof, give my SS # and show my drivers license, and then wait 10 days for the to check it out and issue a new voter registration. I don't want to seem unkind, but you're just blowing a lot of "hot air."
  • beavith1 The Ele... 2012/06/02 15:51:33
    in NH, they ask you your name, confirm that THAT name matches the one on the list and hand you a ballot.

    in NH, you can same day register.

    in NH, there is no need for voter ID. that's why Project Vertias had such an easy time of it.

    if i was so inclined, and wasn't an elected official in my town, i could vote as many times as i liked. all i would need is a list of dead people or people that moved out of town. heck. if i REALLY had a set, i could use my neighbors names. now THAT would be interesting.

    and you are expressing feelings. not knowledge.

    even so, our democrat governor thinks that a picture ID requirement might be too onerous.
  • ComeOnNow FAWKES'... 2012/06/01 16:02:25
    Owning a gun is a right and I have to show ID to buy a handgun. I need a permit to own an automatic. Certain guns are banned altogether. I am sure that you want even tougher laws than that.
  • FAWKES'... ComeOnNow 2012/06/01 16:23:32
    I own over 80 guns so you're barking up the wrong tree.
  • JackSchitt FAWKES'... 2012/06/01 17:54:50
    So if I have a right to a trial by jury.... I don't have to follow a whole slew of rules in order to take advantage of that right?
  • FAWKES'... JackSchitt 2012/06/01 18:05:20 (edited)

    You don't to present an ID to be tried. All you have to do is present evidence. Or you can sit there and do nothing if you want, like Charles Manson.
  • JackSchitt FAWKES'... 2012/06/01 18:46:39
    Sure you can sit there like a lump and allow yourself to be locked up. But if you do that, are you really excercising your "right to a trial" in good faith? If you expect any kind of benefit from having that right....you need to follow a few basic rules:

    Arrive on time
    Dress appropriately
    Bring proper ID
    Don't bring any weapons
    Stay behind the bar
    Stand when the judge enters & leaves
    Answer when asked
    Stay quiet / do not disrupt

    I think that showing an ID is a small price to pay for right to cast a vote and have it count toward an election.
  • FAWKES'... JackSchitt 2012/06/01 18:49:41
    I guarantee you can be tried without ID as "John Doe."

    Go get yourself arrested and try it.
  • JackSchitt FAWKES'... 2012/06/01 19:00:40
    I Never said that you couldn't...but it is a requirement you have to comply with if you want to take full advantage of your "right to a jury trial".

    IMHO - If you won't even come clean with your identity - don't expect your defense (or your vote) to carry much weight.
  • FAWKES'... JackSchitt 2012/06/01 22:47:39
    Sure. And you have to follow rules to eat too.

    Cut food.
    Insert in mouth.
    Move Teeth Up and Down.
    Let slide down throat hole.

    Don't be dense.
  • JackSchitt FAWKES'... 2012/06/02 11:49:51
    That's it....why debate when you can ridicule?
  • Guru_T_Firefly 2012/06/01 13:28:15
    Somebody give that judge a medal.
  • David Lindner 2012/06/01 13:23:37
    David Lindner
    where is the actual news for this?
  • Wahvlvke 2012/06/01 13:23:30
    PP ... there is no "right to vote" enshrinrd in the Constitution ... and what a bunch of ballyhoo about filing dates. Get over it.
  • Franklin 2012/06/01 12:49:01
    Howard is a jackass , he talks about the constitution but makes a claim based on the 1965 voters rights act and places the assumption that he is protecting voters who have qualified and are LEGAL - its a nice scam but its pure political gaming by the dedicated left.

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