Press Release: Despite Secretary of State Kurt Browning’s announcement that the U.S. Department of Justice has approved 76 provisions of the 2011 elections law, House Bill 1355, the League of Women Voters of Florida remains concerned that the law will dampen Florida citizens’ ability to vote, disproportionately affecting minority voters.
The approval comes two weeks after Browning withdrew four key sections of HB 1355 from DOJ review and “pre-clearance” under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, asking the federal district court in Washington, D.C. to approve the four provisions.
Among the four sections withdrawn from DOJ review are those provisions that LWVF finds most objectionable, including statutory language undermining the ability of groups like the League to register voters. Additionally, controversial language limiting early voting and changing the way in which voters update their address on election day was also withdrawn from DOJ review.
“The sections that actually operate to reduce voting opportunities have certainly not been approved and indeed were pulled from DOJ review by the state,” LWVF First Vice President Pam Goodman said. “We remain hopeful that the federal court will give these sections of HB 1355 a very close look, as we continue to believe that these sections unfairly reduce opportunities for registration and voting and will have a particularly negative impact on Florida’s minority voters.”