Florida Administrative Judge Thomas Crapps on Friday heard a challenge [petition, PDF] to a voting rights law [HB 1355 materials] filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) [advocacy websites] and Senator Arthenia Joyner [official profile]. The new regulation, which applies to only 62 of 67 counties, creates conflicting voting rules depending on the county. HB 1355 limits the window for early voting to one week prior to an election, down from the previously established two weeks, and imposes a series of additional regulations on organizations that enlist new voters, including requiring that they register with the state, submit periodic reports and file voter registration materials within 48 hours of completion. It also requires voters that have moved between any of the state's counties to use provisional ballots if they wish to update their information while at a polling location. The complaint alleges the newly implemented regulation violates the Voting Rights Act (VRA) [text] that requires state voting regulations to be "precleared" by the Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website]. Judge Crapps said he would rule on August 24.
There has been significant controversy surrounding voting rights in Florida recently. Over the last two months, the voter purge controversy caused the DOJ and various rights groups [JURIST reports] to call for an end to the purging of voter rolls. In July, Florida was given access to federal voter rolls [JURIST report] in an effort to continue the purge.