State lawmakers are now pressuring Florida Governor Rick Scott to extend the number of early voting days offered after a federal court ruled the new law could not take effect in some counties.
The current law cuts the number of early voting days offered by the state and includes a few other regulations. A federal court ruled last week that the reduction could not be enforced in five Florida counties covered by the Voting Rights Act because it would directly impact the ability of minorities to vote. Because the state wants one unified election plan which covers all of Florida’s 67 counties, officials are now working with the elections office in those counties to bridge the gap.
But even the offices outside those directly affected counties are keeping tabs.
“We have to contemplate what a Plan A and Plan B is,” says Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland.
Holland says developing a uniform plan across the state will be challenging because each one has a unique character.
“There are many counties that don’t need 12 hours- some of the small counties. There were 50 counties previous to the change in law that never did voting on Sundays,” he says.
So creating guidelines for all of these counties is something that he is watching closely, and preparing for.
Right now, Holland plans to have 17 early voting sites open in November, each for 12 hours over each of the 8 days offered. Because of the state level discussion, and another lawsuit filed against Duval by a number of plaintiffs including Congresswoman Corrine Brown which challenges early voting changes, he says he is reaching out to all those sites to make sure they would be available if guidelines are changed heading closer to November.
But he expects, one way or another, we will have that resolution before the election.
“They [judges] know the urgency that exists during elections, and we think that obviously they will make those decisions sooner rather than later,” he says.
The Duval County lawsuit is scheduled to go to court in the next few weeks.