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NEWS

Suppressing the vote

Restrictive new voting laws expected to diminish turnout nationwide for 2012 elections

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“We remain hopeful that the federal court will give these sections of HB 1355 a very close look, as we believe that these sections unfairly reduce opportunities for registration and voting and will have a particularly negative impact on Florida’s minority voters,” LWVF First Vice President Pam Goodman said in a statement.

There is cause for concern. Democrats fear that one of the law’s already approved sticking points – that voters must present photo identification like a driver’s license at polling places – carries with it the stigma of Jim Crow laws, which pushed literacy tests and poll taxes upon minorities in the South. Also, the requirement that the address on that license be current could cause trouble for traditionally more mobile minority populations and for students – both of which tend to vote for Democrats – and the elderly who are less likely to drive.

“It is increasingly apparent that there are forces within the state government that will try any means possible to suppress the minority vote,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida said in a statement. The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit against the controversial portions of the law in June and a subsequent federal complaint just last week. “As Jesse Jackson has stated, we fight wars for democracy abroad and then declare war on democracy at home.”

Billy Manes

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