The Obama administration is in an all out war with Republican governors over their attempts to restrict voter rights.
First Attorney General Eric Holder sued Texas over its discriminatory Voter ID law in a case that could land the issue of Section 5 preclearance under the Voting Rights Act before the Supreme Court. Now the Department of Justice is going after the state of Florida hard with allegations that new voting restrictions may have been passed with a discriminatory intent.
Florida has several counties covered by Section 5 of the VRA. Under Section 5, states with a history of racial discrimination must have any changes to election laws precleared by either the Justice Department or a panel of judges in Washington D.C. before they can go into effect.
The Department of Justice pointed to provisions in Florida’s new voting law that places restrictions on third-party voter registration groups, shortens the early voting period and makes voters who move to a different county cast provisional ballots as the most suspicious. For those changes, the state of Florida has failed to show that the changes “neither have the purpose nor will have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on the basis of race, color, or membership in a language minority group.”
There’s a long and ugly history of racial discrimination in voting, particularly in the South and it’s apparently not ending anytime soon.
Photo from aflcio via flickr.
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