Browning said the measure is proactive, aimed at heading off potnetial cases of voter fraud before they occur. He also said his lawyers have advised him that it likely will pass muster under the Voting Rights Act and other federal laws, and that it will take effect immediately in the 62 Florida counties not covered under the act.
Not long after Gov. Rick Scott signed a controversial rewrite of state elections laws, Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning spent about half an hour defending the measure to reporters.
Browning, the state’s top elections official, said the measure is “proactive,” and aimed at heading off potential fraud and other problems before they occur. He also said his lawyers have advised him that it likely will pass muster under the Voting Rights Act and other federal laws and that it will take effect immediately for the 62 Florida counties not covered under the act.
That means election laws could change right away in Miami-Dade County, where local elections are currently in progress (pending the results of an ongoing court challenge to the sudden changes).
In Miami-Dade, people who moved to the county before the election but voted earlier this week were able to change their address through the existing process. If the measure does take immediate effect, those who waited until closer to Tuesday’s election would have to vote by provisional ballot under one of its most controversial provisions.
One of the objections raised by the bill’s opponents is that it could force more people to vote by provisional ballots, which are sometimes less likely to be counted than traditional ballots. Browning said he plans to issue a directive requiring supervisors to count provisional ballots if they have no reason to suspect fraud, which will likely help allay some of the concerns.
Teaching the Movement: The State of Civil Rights Education 2011, a Southern Poverty Law Center study, shows that most states fail when it comes to teaching the U.S. Civil Rights movement to students. Florida earned an A for its curriculum.
Rep. Allen West, R-Fort Lauderdale, who faces a tough reelection bid in 2012, is being forced to explain to his tea party supporters why he voted to support the Budget Control Act, which raised the federal government's debt ceiling.