On August 16 the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia issued a decision in State of Florida vs United States of America et al. barring the implementation of the reduced voting hours contained in Fla. Stat. § 101.657(d) (2011) in the 5 counties still subject to preclearance under the Voting Rights Act. The court, however, essentially approved the application of the statute in the 5 counties if Florida submits a new preclearance plan. In doing so the court concluded :
“… we cannot preclear Florida’s early voting changes at this time because the State has failed to satisfy its burden of proving that those changes will not have a retrogressive effect on minority voters … We also conclude, however, that if Florida and the covered counties were to submit a preclearance plan that offered early voting for the maximum number of hours authorized by the new statute, which would be exactly the same number as under the prior law, and did so on a standard 7 a.m.to 7 p.m. schedule, Florida likely would satisfy its burden of proving that the overall effect of its changes in law would be nonretrogressive. “
It is likely Florida will submit a new preclearance plan which contains the modifications suggested by the court . READ THIS UPDATE.