On Tuesday, I posted a condemnation of Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's (DWS) preposterous and offensive remark that Republicans seek to "literally drag" the country back to the dark days of Jim Crow by enacting tough anti-fraud election laws. Wasserman Schultz made her incendiary comments during an interview on TV One with Roland Martin, perhaps best known for his regular CNN political commentaries. After my piece went live, Martin contacted me through Twitter and urged me to watch the full exchange (my analysis of her remarks was largely based upon a Politico write-up). Although DWS had directed much of her fire at voter ID laws, he said, she also expressed concerns over an additional recent election law, which Martin suggested was more objectionable. I told Martin that I'd look into it, and I have. Before I proceed with further analysis and reporting, here is the full clip that Martin passed along:
First, let me reiterate my strong support for voter ID laws. They are common-sense, reasonable, and appropriate measures to help ensure that eligible citizens are able to exercise their right to vote, once per election. They are not, as DWS suggests, tantamount to a poll tax, nor am I persuaded that they discourage or suppress voter participation among certain racial minority populations -- another common charge. In fact, as I reported in my original piece, a recent case study in Georgia showed that Hispanic and African-American voter turnout actually soared in consecutive elections after a voter identification law was implemented. Fortunately, the Left's racially-tinged fear-mongering hasn't succeeded; photo ID laws enjoy supermajority support among the American people.
I was, however, interested to learn more about a law passed by the Republican-held Florida legislature and signed by Republican Governor Rick Scott. Several of the points Martin and Wasserman Schultz raised about the legislation piqued my curiosity. Here's how the Miami Herald describes the statute, which will impact next year's general election:
Gov. Rick Scott has signed HB 1355 making sweeping changes to voting and elections procedures in Florida. Here are the highlights of those changes:
- Early voting is reduced from 15 days to eight days, but the total number of early voting hours will stay at 96; no additional early voting sites.
- Voters who have moved or changed their name since the last election can only update their status at the polls if they have moved within the same county. All others must cast provisional ballots.
- Third-party groups that register new voters must submit forms within 48 hours or face fines of up to $1,000.
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