Stricter voter identification measures supporters say fight fraud and opponents counter disenfranchise groups of voters are being detoured into the U.S. court system, possibly keeping them from going into effect or being considered before Election Day. Restrictions on early voting, new photo ID requirements and efforts to purge voter lists of non-citizens have been met with opposition from the U.S. Justice Department, civil rights groups and judges who blocked the provisions. “There has been a real push-back by the courts to these widespread efforts to restrict the vote,” Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, told The Washington Post. “If those seeking to suppress the vote won round 1, round 2 seems to be going to the voters.”
Welcome to “the voting war,” University of California-Irvine election law professor Rick Hasen told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “Since the 2000 election, people [have] realized that the rules of the game mattered a great deal and there’s been a lot of jockeying to change those rules,” Hasen said.
In the battleground state of Florida, a federal judge nixed a new state law that requires groups registering voters submit registration cards within 48 hours or face fines, saying the mandate was onerous. The Justice Department has challenged an effort by Florida’s Republican secretary of state to remove non-citizens from voter registration lists, arguing it is illegal to do so this close to an election.