We’re just inside the one month mark for when an early voting lawsuit will be heard in Duval County.
But I’ve learned that one of the sticking points in this lawsuit is still very much in the air.
At stake is both the number of early voting days and which days are offered. Congresswoman Corrine Brown and several other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit looking to once again expand the days offered to 15, including the Sunday right before the Election Day.
“It should be that we’re encouraging people to vote. Why are we trying to make it frustrating and not encouraging people to vote,” says Congresswoman Corrine Brown.
She says the early voting changes have a direct impact on minority voters who would mobilize in high numbers on that Sunday.
A federal court ruled last week that the state’s changes could not be enforced in five counties which are covered by the Voting Rights Act because the changes are harmful to the minority vote. It did say if the counties agreed to offer the full 96 hours of early voting, then the effects of fewer days would likely be mitigated.
Both Brown and the attorney representing her and the other plaintiffs in the lawsuit believe this ruling will have an impact on their suit.
“It did the same thing in Duval and the rest of the state,” Brown said on the impact of the limitations.
Although Brown is confident not just that the ruling will be on her side, but that Sunday voting will be restored, Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland tells me otherwise.
“Currently right now, we do not have the equipment to be able to do it on Sunday,” he says.
If the court decides to allow the local supervisors to choose- something that both Brown and Holland agree is important because each county has such different character and needs- Holland says we will probably not see the return of Sunday voting in Duval.
He says the office will use the same new voting equipment for both early voting and the general election, so the few days in between the two are important for getting everything reset.
If the court requires supervisors to hold voting that Sunday right before the election, Holland says he would comply, but that could mean needing to buy more equipment.
As it stands, he plans on offering the full 96 hours available for early voting over eight 12-hour days.