Here’s a pdf of the Racial Justice Project’s amicus brief on behalf of Congressman John Lewis. My research with Prof. Michael Herron is cited on pp. 32-33, clipped below.
For the 2012 general election, only thirty-two of Florida’s sixty-seven counties, including the five counties covered by Section 5, offered the maximum ninety-six hours of early voting hours permitted under the new law. Minority voters again took advantage of the extra time to cast their votes. While African Americans made up less than 14% of Florida’s registered voters in 2012, they made up more than 22% of the early voter electorate on each day of the 2012 early voting period. Herron & Smith, at 11. However, because there was a reduction in the total number of early voting hours and days in 2012, including the elimination of the Sunday immediately before Election Day, there were fewer opportunities for minorities to vote early. In Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, voters stood in line to cast early votes for more than five hours during the weekend before Election Day. Id. at 20. In those two counties, African Americans made up only 16.7% of registered voters, but accounted for 43.8% of the early voters on Sunday, November 4, 2012. Id. at 21. The data tell the story. There is simply no question that without Section 5, a disproportionate number of minority voters in Florida would have been deterred from exercising their right to vote in 2012.
Here’s the press release from the Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 13, 2012
Justice Department to Monitor Elections in Florida and Wisconsin
The Justice Department announced today that it will monitor elections on Aug. 14, 2012, in the following jurisdictions to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other federal voting rights statutes: Collier, Hendry, Lee, Osceola and Polk Counties, Fla.; and the city of Milwaukee, Wis.
The Voting Rights Act prohibits discrimination in the election process on the basis of race, color or membership in a minority language group. In addition, the act requires certain covered jurisdictions to provide language assistance during the election process. Collier, Hendry, Lee, Osceola and Polk Counties, as well as the city of Milwaukee, are required to provide language assistance in Spanish.
Civil Rights Division personnel will monitor polling place activities in these jurisdictions. Civil Rights Division attorneys will coordinate federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.
The DOJ’s press release is available here.
Florida election law review will extend into July.
So says the Associated Press.
“A federal court review of Florida’s new election law will extend into July, just a month before the Aug. 14 primary. A Department of State spokesman on Monday said Florida is prepared to use two election laws if the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., doesn’t rule before the primary.”
My previous thoughts on Florida’s dual election system under HB1355 can be found here.
NAACP’s press release is here: http://bit.ly/eW8g0e & LWV’s is here: http://bit.ly/ePQ6xu