Here is the American Civil Liberties Union Voting Rights Project, the Florida ACLU, and Project Vote’s letter to the Voting Section Chief at the US Justice Department objecting to the state of Florida’s pending Section 5 Voting Rights Act submission of HB 1355, which amends the state’s election laws.
It nicely complements the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators, and the Florida State Conference of the NAACP letter that was also submitted.
The ACLU letter alleges four potential retrogressive effects of HB 1355 on minority voting strength in Florida;
1) Reducing the number of days for early voting from 14 days to eight days – from the 10th to the 3rd day before the election. Fla. Stat. § 101.657(1)(d) (HB 1355, Sec. 39);
2) Requiring third-party voter registration organizations to submit voter registration applications within 48 hours of receipt instead of ten days as provided by existing law, and imposing a fine of $50 for each failure to comply with the deadline, and imposing fines up to $1,000 for failing to comply with other provisions. Fla. Stat. § 97.0575(3)(a) (HB 1355, Sec. 4);
3) Disallowing voters who move from one Florida county to another to make an address change at the polls on the day of an election and vote a regular ballot, except for active military voters and their family members. Fla. Stat. § 101.045(2)(d) (HB 1355, Sec. 26);
4) Reducing the shelf-life of citizen initiative petition signatures proposing constitutional amendments from four years to two years. Fla. Stat. § 100.371(3) (HB 1355, Sec. 23).
The inclusion of HB 1355’s negative impact on the citizen initiative process is a welcome addition to the NAACP, et al.’s letter.