The last of 80 changes to Florida’s controversial election law has just been approved by a federal court. The new law will impact everything from when you vote, to how you register and how quickly results are reported on election night.
The last time Florida voted the results were reported in almost record time.
“It’s going to be an early night,” said Secretary of State Ken Detzner, after the August Primary.
A new, controversial election law is to credit for the quick results. The law requires elections supervisors to report results every 45 minutes after polls close. But that’s just one change.
The law also created a committee to select the state’s presidential primary date. In total there are 80 changes in the law. Most were approved by a federal court with no fight, but several drew critics.
Chris Cate a spokesman for the Florida Division of Elections says the changes are aimed at preventing voter fraud.
“All 80 provisions are going to benefit Florida. Many will go unnoticed, but it’s going to improve our processes,” said Cate.
But critics argue there’s very little fraud to begin with and some of the provisions in the new law will keep college students and minorities from casting a ballot.
The NAACP fought the provision that cut early voting from two weeks to eight days.
“The people who are being impacted are people of color and African Americans,” said Dale Landry with the NAACP.
But the change was approved Thursday after the state reached a deal to allow 96 hours of voting in counties with past voting rights violations.
“You are going to have up to 12 hours a day now of early voting, which means you will have the opportunity to vote before work or after work, but there is also going to be many more hours than every before on the weekend,” said Cate.
In the past people who change their address at the polls, mainly college students who moved across county lines, were still able to cast a regular ballot. Now, if they wait until Election Day to update their voter registration information they’ll have to cast a provisional ballot.
The new law also requires third party voter registration groups to sign up with the state, but the League of Women Voters won a court battle that would have required them to turn in registration forms with in 48 hours.