The Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice has sent a letter to the State of Florida outlining two objections to the State’s recent effort to purge non-citizen registrants: 1) the new process was not precleared under the Voting Rights Act (5 of Florida’s counties are preclearance jurisdictions where changes to voting procedures must be preapproved) and 2) the process appears to violate the provisions of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which prohibits such list maintenance activities within 90 days of a federal election. (Letter copy courtesy of MSNBC.) The letter gives the State until June 6th to respond.
I guess you can add this to the “Only in Florida” category – a candidate for the U.S House of Representatives in Miami has legally changed his name to his website address. So if you live in Hialeah, Florida, it is likely you’ll see “VoteforEddie.com” running for office. The Division of Elections has all of the documentation online here – including the court’s order changing his name and my favorite part, the proper pronunciation of VoteforEddie.com: “voet fer edee daat com.” News stories by Politico and the Miami Herald.
With Florida election supervisors wary of the State’s efforts to rate them in a survey, the Division of Elections has asked local elections supervisors to examine the voting eligibility of more than 2000 registered voters. Today a letter was sent to the State by several civil rights groups questioning whether the review is consistent with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. Several of these groups sued and settled with the State over the handling of the 2000 election.
Per the Palm Beach Post and other sources – the U.S. Department of Justice precleared Florida’s redistricting efforts (State and Federal) under Section 5 of the Federal Civil Rights Act. The submitals for preclerance are online at the State’s Redistricting website. In Leon County (Tallahassee) Circuit Court, a judge also denied Motions for Summary Judgment tied to other challenges of the State’s redistricting maps.
The Florida Supreme Court today, in an opinion, approved the Florida Senate’s second attempt at a redistricting map.
“In the prior proceeding, this Court directed the Legislature to adopt a new joint resolution of legislative apportionment conforming to the judgment of the Court. Pursuant to this Court‘s directive, the Legislature adopted a revised Senate apportionment plan that sought to remedy the constitutional infirmities apparent on the face of the invalidated Senate plan. In this proceeding, we conclude that the opponents have failed to demonstrate that the revised Senate plan as a whole or with respect to any individual district violates Florida‘s constitutional requirements. Therefore, pursuant to article III, section 16(c), of the Florida Constitution, the Court enters this declaratory judgment declaring the revised Senate apportionment plan as contained in Senate Joint Resolution 2-B to be constitutionally valid under the Florida Constitution. No motion for rehearing shall be entertained. This case is final. It is so ordered.”
The State of Florida Division of Elections has apprently decided to “rank” the State’s 67 Supervisors of Elections and published a survey put online by the Tampa Bay Times. TBT and the AP (via News-Press.com) are reporting that this survey has angered the Supervisors and prompted questions as to its purpose.
The Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald are reporting that a Leon County Circuit Judge has ruled against former Sen. Nancy Argenziano in her bid to have Florida’s 1 year restriction on changing political party affiliation deemed unconstitutional. Leon County’s Clerk usually posts their high profile orders online, once it’s available I’ll add a link. The news reports state that the court focused on the fact that Argenziano could have run for office as a member of Florida’s Independent Party (which she was a member of one year before the qualification date) or without party affiliation and that similar laws had been previously held to be valid.
The litigation related to last year’s changes to Florida’s election laws continues, here are some status updates from Politico and from a website associated with the Plaintiffs in the case: Brennan Center
Many of the filings in the case are also available online at ther Mortiz College of Law site.
And if you need a good laugh – make sure you check out the Washington Post’s coverage of Hank (the cat) for Senate and the SuperPAC that has formed to oppose him.
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights conducted a field hearing in Tampa today on Florida’s 2011 election law changes. The Subcommittee’s webpage has the printed witness testimony (links on the right side of the subcommittee page). The Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9 (video) provide local coverage. Cooper Levey-Baker of The Florida Independent live-blogged the event.
With the Presidential Preference Primary on January 31st (plus many local elections on the same ballot) – the State has posted a list of all early voting sites and hours.