The Legislature’s recent changes to Florida’s elections law were so massive and controversial, it would be ironic if the overhaul came tumbling down because of one slightly obscure overstep. Here’s hoping that’s the case.
The overstep, pointed out June 12 in a front-page article by The Ledger’s Lloyd Dunkelberger, was the Legislature’s decision to disallow early voting on the Sunday before an election that features state or federal races.
That tweak might not seem like much, against the backdrop of the numerous and damaging changes imposed by the new law — such as tougher restrictions on voter registration, a severe reduction of the early voting period, and limitations aimed at young and absentee voters.
Yet, the final-Sunday voting ban should be a red flag to the U.S. Department of Justice, which, under the federal Voting Rights Act and because of the state’s history of racial discrimination, must review any changes to Florida election laws.
The Sunday ban — as well as other changes affecting early voting — appears to be aimed directly at discouraging Florida’s black voters.