On May 20th, 1865, Union soldiers read President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in Florida for the first time. The event is reenacted each year in Tallahassee."The Negroes are now free men."
But many African Americans believe that a 158-page elections bill signed into law Thursday will do them more harm than good.
Former Senator Al Lawson says, "I think that the Justice Department is going to weigh in on this because basically what you're doing is taking away citizens' rights to actually vote."
Despite claims to the contrary, the legislation allows county supervisors to cut early voting in half, to as few as eight, six-hour days. Secretary of State Kurt Browning says that will save small counties money.
Secretary of State, Kurt Browning says, "I do not see that as a reduction of early voting. I see that as a good, common sense approach to being able to not use this whole one-size-fits-all mentality."
"The legislation is being described as a proactive approach to fighting election fraud. But in recent years, only four cases have been prosecuted."
Still another provision would give lawmakers a second chance if they write misleading ballot information for constitutional amendments. Elections law expert Ron Meyer successfully argued against several amendments last fall.
Elections Attorney, Ron Meyer says, "What this legislation tries to do is take away from the court the right to make sure that the people understand what they're voting for."
The new law also makes it harder to chance your address on short notice.