The controversy over Florida's election law changes and corporate political donations

01/06/12 Robert Lorei
Radioactivity: Live Call-In (Monday)

Voting laws passed in Florida last year have limited early voting, including on the Sunday before Election Day. Opponents say the early voting limitations are part of a broader effort by Republican-led legislatures across the country to suppress the black, minority and elderly voting blocs, groups expected to be key to President Obama's bid for reelection in 2012. The efforts include new voting laws passed in more than a dozen states, some requiring government-issued identification to vote and others limiting third-party voter registration drives.

Former president Bill Clinton told a group of activists last summer that "there has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today."

Ohio has eliminated early voting on Sunday altogether. In Florida early voting was cut from 14 days to eight, including the last Sunday before Election Day. The passage of bill HB 1355, which shortened the early voting period in the state, also prevents voters from changing their addresses at the polls and restricts third-party voter registration groups. As a consequence of the new restrictions, the League of Women Voters has ended their voter registration program.

Today we’re going to talk about voting, elections, campaign contributions and corporate power with an expert on all four topics. She’s Ciara Torres-Spelliscy. Ciara Torres-Spelliscy is an assistant professor, teaching courses in election law and Constitutional Law. Prior to joining Stetson’s faculty, Torres-Spelliscy was counsel in the Democracy Program of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law where she provided guidance on the issues of money in politics and the judiciary to state and federal lawmakers. She was an associate at Arnold & Porter LLP and a staffer for Senator Richard Durbin.

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