With blinding speed, Florida Republicans have moved through the state legislature a set of electoral changes that will make it harder for people to vote. From the Orlando Sentinel:
The bill would cut the time for early voting from 14 days to eight. County election supervisors could keep their early voting sites open anywhere from six hours to 12 hours per day.
That would allow a maximum of 96 hours of early voting — the same number allowed today, but over fewer days.
It would also eliminate a long-standing provision that allows people to change their address or name at the polls. Under the bill, you can only change your registration at the polls if you are moving within the same county. Otherwise you have to cast a provisional ballot.
Other changes would require third-party voter registration groups such as the League of Women Voters to turn in voter-registration cards within 48 hours or face fines. Voter groups have said that requirement would be difficult to meet if they are registering thousands of voters at a time.
This restriction on third-party voter registration drives would have a seriously chilling effect on volunteers and non-profit groups that would probably produce a serious drop in new registrations.
Not surprisingly, these changes will make it harder for groups that lean Democratic, like young people, to vote.
This has been a trend this year with Republicans all over the country. In states where the GOP won big in 2010, they have been using their margins to push through state laws that will make voting harder for groups that tend to vote against Republicans. Similar actions have been taken in Kansas and Wisconsin.
Despite the excuses, the GOP is using this as plain voter suppression for partisan gain, democratic principles be damned.