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Florida Republicans Crack Down On Voting

The Florida House passed a highly controversial overhaul of election laws on Thursday, which critics say would grossly undermine the fabric of democracy and help ensure a Republican victory in the 2012 election.

Supporters of the legislation say that the changes would prevent voter fraud, while the bill's opponents bemoan its potential to disenfranchise young voters, women and the constituency responsible for President Barack Obama's 2008 victory in Florida.

In a Friday editorial, the St. Petersburg Times addressed the most alarming provisions of the bill, which comes with he 2012 presidential election on the horizon and all 160 seats in the Legislature on the ballot. 

Chief among their concerns are the burdensome requirements placed on groups that conduct massive voter registration drives, such as the League of Women Voters and the NAACP. The Senate version seeks to cut the early voting period -- which was a boon for Obama and the Democrats in 2008 -- from 15 days to seven days.

It gets worse.

Even more outrageous, both the House and Senate would overturn 40 years of sound public policy by no longer allowing someone who has changed his or her address to update that information at the polling place and cast a regular ballot. The House bill is slightly different, only barring a polling place change of address if the voter has moved out of the county.  
It still gets worse.

Anyone who has changed a name, such as a newly married woman, would also not be able to update that information at the polls. Therefore, those mostly affected are college students, women and renters, not your typical Republican leaning bunch.

They would have to cast provisional ballots. And according to the Times, more than half of provisional ballots cast in the last election were thrown out.  

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Michael Cohen

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