For more than a decade, lawmakers have been tweaking election rules to improve on Florida’s ham-fisted history of counting ballots. This year, an election law rewrite is moving through the state House that voter-rights activists have assailed as “good old-fashioned voter suppression” and “Jim Crow tactics.”
The legislation was described as a cleanup bill in advance of the 2012 elections that is “important to ensure the integrity of the political process and our elections in Florida,” said sponsor Dennis Baxley, a Republican from Ocala.
House Bill 1355 is a sweeping, 151-page election rewrite, and on Thursday, the House State Affairs Committee tossed in a provision creating a committee to hash out Florida’s presidential primary election date. But it was the dozens of changes to election law in the meat of the bill that outraged a slew of voter rights activists who unsuccessfully urged the committee to reject the bill.
A key provision would prohibit voters from updating their name and address at their polling place on Election Day, which is allowed under current law. Such voters would have to cast a provisional ballot, which is singled out for review of a voter’s eligibility. Typically, half of such ballots are rejected.
Opponents said the new strategy would place a burden on those who move during the year – especially students – and on women who marry or divorce and change their names. Another would place greater burdens on voter registration groups, requiring them to submit the registration forms they collect within two days rather than the current 10 days. And those groups would have to register members and volunteers with the state.
Full Article: Voter-rights activists pan election measure | TBO.com.