2008: 22% of Early Voters Were Black, Rep. Corrine Brown Sues Florida

2008: 22% of Early Voters Were Black, Rep. Corrine Brown Sues Florida


New Florida Voting Laws Attract Lawsuit. “There is absolutely no explanation for restricting early voting other than intentional voter suppression, said Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL).  Brown has filed a federal lawsuit to stop changes is Florida’s early voting law.

In the 2008 elections, African Americans cast 22% percent of the total early vote, even though Blacks are just 13% of Florida’s registered voters. More Blacks vote during the early voting period than on election-day or via absentee ballot combined according to University of Florida Political Science Professor Dr. Daniel Smith.

In 2008, President Obama won Florida over Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) by a very slim 2.8% margin: 50.9 – 48.1%.

Blacks accounted for roughly 34% of votes cast on the Sunday before the election in 2008.  The Republican controlled legislature in Florida shortened the number of early voting days from from 15 to 10 and and eliminated Sunday voting before the election.  They also granted power to county supervisors to control the number of hours the polls are open.

“It seems that Governor Scott simply does not want people to vote. We should be making it easier for people to get to the polls, not harder,” Brown said.

“Early voting has worked extremely well for all Floridians and especially for African American voters,” said Brown adding, “More than any other racial or ethnic group, African Americans have come to rely on early voting,” she added.

Brown said changes to the law, “violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, 42 U.S.C. and 1973 (a) and the Florida constitution… Early voting was instituted after the debacle of the 2000 elections when thousands were turned away from overcrowded polls. Since 2004, Floridians have had access to the polls for eight hours a day, for fifteen days right up until the last Sunday before election-day.”

LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE, Politic365 Managing Editor, publishes the blog Crewof42 on the Congressional Black Caucus.  She can be heard every Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET on WMCS 1290 in Milwaukee on Earl Ingram’s show The Evening Rush as well as on WPFW 89.3 every Friday at 6:30 p.m. Ms. Burke is a former employee of USAToday.com and ABC News.  You can e-mail her at LBurke007@gmail.com follow her on twitter @Crewof42.