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Louisiana Senate panel nixes satellite voting centers for Katrina refugees

[JURIST] A Louisiana State Senate [official website] committee has rejected a bill that would have made it easier for residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina [JURIST report] to vote in next month's New Orleans municipal elections [JURIST news archive]. The bill would have created polling places in other states so that voters would not have to travel back to Louisiana. Opponents of the plan said that it could create legal problems stemming from any alleged disparate treatment at the satellite polling places, and pointed to the state's existing displaced voters plan [Sec. of State materials] as a solution.

Earlier this week, a federal judge refused to push the election back [JURIST report] from its scheduled April 22 date. The Department of Justice has also approved the date [JURIST report] over concerns from civil rights groups. Rev. Jesse Jackson testified before the state senate committee Wednesday that forcing the mostly-black voters to return to the city is equivalent to an illegal poll tax [Wikipedia backgrounder]. AP has more.

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