A federal judge in Miami has thrown out a lawsuit against Gov. Rick Scott and his administration over the state’s new elections laws. U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore ruled that the ACLU, which filed the lawsuit, lacked standing to sue and that it’s too early to rule on whether the new law is unconstitutional. Scott applauded the decision.
“I have always been confident that our elections have been conducted fairly and meet every legal requirement. Today’s decision only confirms that opinion. As we draw nearer to nationally significant elections in 2012, I will continue to ensure the integrity and fairness of Florida elections,” Scott said in a statement.
The ACLU of Florida filed the lawsuit after Secretary of State Kurt Browning began statewide implementation of the election law approved by lawmakers this spring and signed into law by Scott. The civil rights group accused Browning of implementing the changes without preclearance from federal officials as required under the 1965 Voting Rights Act for five Florida counties.
But since filing the lawsuit, the U.S. Department of Justice has signed off on all but four of the most controversial portions of the elections law. For those portions, Browning is seeking approval from the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
The changes still being considered by the federal court would reduce the number of early voting days, set new rules for groups conducting voter registration drives, require voters changing out-of-county addresses at the polls to cast provisional ballots and make it more difficult to get citizen initiatives on the ballot. Critics object the changes are intended to keep low-income, minority and college student voters — all of whom helped President Obama sweep into the White House three years ago — from casting ballots next November.
Full Article: U.S. judge dismisses ACLU challenge of Florida election law.