Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) has won a date in court on September 19. A Federal Court will make a decision on her lawsuit against Florida for shortening the number of days Floridians can vote early early. If Brown wins an injunction, Floridians would be able to vote 15 days before November 6. Judge Timothy Corrigan will hear the case at 9:30 a.m. on September 19.
If Rep. Brown prevails, the vote schedule would return to the same schedules as 2004 and 2008 and would include voting the Sunday before election.
In 2008, African Americans cast 22% percent of the total early vote, even though Blacks are just 13% of Florida’s registered voters. More Blacks voted 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.
A 2011 law passed by Florida’s Republican House and Senate and signed by Republican Governor Rick Scott not only reduced early voting to ten days, it gave county supervisors control over the number of hours polls are open and eliminated voting on the last Sunday before election day.
Last week, Jim Greer, who was Chairman of the Republican Party in Florida for three years, confirmed that many suspected: That the early voting days were cut in an effort to suppress the Black and Latino vote.
“It’s very sad what’s going on in the Republican party. It’s very sad the Republicans Party doesn’t want to win votes by talking about what it stands for. It wants to ensure that some people can’t get to the polls, can’t register to vote. Political strategists for the GOP can’t control what voters do in the voting booth but it can certainly try and control them ever getting to the voting booth and that’s what happened in Florida,” former Republican Party Chair Greer told Rev. Al Sharpton last week during an interview on MSNBC’s Politics Nation.
“There is absolutely no explanation for restricting early voting other than intentional voter suppression. Governor Scott does not want people to vote,” said Rep. Brown. “We should be making it easier for people to get the polls, not harder,” Brown added.
Rep. Brown is joined by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference-Jacksonville chapter, several individual Duval residents, and the Duval County Democratic Executive Committee in her lawsuit against Florida. The lawsuit argues that the 2011 changes in Florida’s voting laws 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.
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.