Civil Rights groups continue to fight No Match, No Vote listen10/27/08 Mitch E. Perry
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One full week into early voting, and a week to go before the general election, attorneys for two civil rights organizations who unsuccessfully tried to prevent Floridaâ€™s, â€œNo Match, No Voteâ€ law from going into effect spoke today about the implementation of the legislation so far.
â€œNo Match, No Voteâ€ mandates local supervisors of election deny voters the chance to complete a regular ballot, if there are problems with their identification being matched against a state or federal database.
The most up-to-date reports say approximately 12,000 voters have had their registrations rejected since the law went into effect on Sept. 8. Adam Skaggs with the Brennan Center for Justice says that is far too many people.
Skaggs said a report released a few weeks ago showed that, as predicted, the law has had a disproportionate effect on blacks and Latinos, to the tune of nearly 75 percent of all such voters. He says that coincides with information learned about other states that have implemented similar laws in recent years.
Although Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark has received the headlines for saying she prefers to correct registration problems at the polls, vs. having a voter fill out a provisional ballot, Skaggs reiterated what WMNF reported last week â€“ that approximately 30 or so supervisors around the state are working with voters whose IDs donâ€™t match up with federal or state databases. But most of them will only be doing so for early voting.
When a votersâ€™ registration gets rejected by the Secretary of Stateâ€™s office, he or she is supposed to be notified so they can correct the problem and ultimately vote.
But Elizabeth Westfall, with the Advancement Project, another civil rights organization that previously sued the state after the law passed by the Florida Legislature, says the reporting from the state has been tardy.
Last week the general counsel for the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections issued a legal memo saying state law in Florida says nothing about where proof of identify had to be submitted. That did nothing to change Secretary of State Kurt Browning mind, but he says he would not say counties are breaking the law if they didn't follow the state's lead.