Stricter ID laws and other controversial voting restrictions, passed this year by several Republican-controlled legislatures, are hitting legal roadblocks that could keep many of the measures from taking effect before the November elections. Curbs on early voting, new ID requirements and last-minute efforts to rid voter lists of noncitizens have been met with vigorous opposition from the Justice Department and civil rights groups, and in some cases, the provisions have been blocked by federal or state judges. “There has been a real push-back by the courts to these widespread efforts to restrict the vote,” said Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, which opposes the new laws. “If those seeking to suppress the vote won round one, round two seems to be going to the voters.”
Supporters of the laws argue that they will ensure that elections are fair and will cut down on the potential for voter fraud. Democrats contend that the laws disproportionately affect people who tend to vote for their candidates.
Florida, viewed by both President Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney as key to the election, passed several voting laws that have been challenged. Last week, a federal judge in Florida threw out a new state law that groups registering voters submit the registration cards within 48 hours or face steep fines, calling the mandate onerous. Justice Department officials have also challenged an effort by Florida’s Republican secretary of state to remove noncitizens from voter registration lists, saying it is illegal to conduct such a purge this close to an election.