Elections law sponsor: ‘Nothing’ in law limits ‘participation’

By | 12.06.11 | 1:57 pm

State Rep. Dennis Baxley (Pic by Mark Foley, via myfloridahouse.gov)

Politico reports that state Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, says that nothing in Florida’s elections law, which he sponsored, is “going to limit anybody’s participation.”

The NAACP recently released a 67-page study that found “14 states enacted a total of 25 measures that the [group] said are tantamount to a coordinated assault on voting rights, with the African-American and other minority communities as the primary victims,” Politico reported. Florida was listed many times as an example of a state that recently enacted measures that would particularly disenfranchise minority voters.

However, Baxley tells the site that such accusations are false and that “he was ‘offended’ that ‘accusations are being hurled’ by the NAACP.”

Politico reports:

“This is the only legislature that can protect the election process from mischief, and there’s nothing in this election law that’s going to limit anybody’s participation,” Baxley told POLITICO. “All I’m trying to do is make sure that our election process is protected from abuse and that the results are credible — what in this bill applies differently to anyone of a difference race?”

Florida was one of the four states that experienced the largest growth in its African-American population during the last decade, the NAACP said in its report.

Baxley, a representative from Ocala whose bill reduced early voting days and limited where and when people can register to vote, added, “I’m particularly offended that they attack other people’s motives. Maybe I didn’t put the right ingredients into the law, but to accuse people of ulterior and evil motives is over the top and I resent that.”

Several groups, including some federal policy-makers, have said the Florida law will disenfranchise minorities, young people, the disabled and low-income voters. A U.S. Senate committee has announced it will launch congressional field hearings investigating the laws. The DNC launched a website last week to inform voters about laws in states like Florida that the group believes is aimed at disenfranchising voters.

Florida is currently waiting for a ruling on the most controversial aspects of its elections law from a court in the District of Columbia.

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