Federal Court Rejects Florida’s New Early Voting Law – For Now

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.


Thomas D. Shults, Esq.

About Thomas D. Shults, Esq.

Tom Shults is a Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer. He has represented clients in election and sunshine law issues, complex business and commercial disputes and probate and trust suits. He was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1983 and has maintained an active trial practice in state and federal courts for over 35 years. Mr. Shults successfully represented the Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections in Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections et al. v. Browning et al. , where the Florida Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of Sarasota County’s charter election law amendments. Mr. Shults has served on the Professional Ethics Committee of The Florida Bar and is the past Chairman of the Code and Rules of Evidence Committee of The Florida Bar. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Community Service Award of the Sarasota County Bar Association for his work with the Sarasota Mental Health Community Centers. In 2013 he was nominated for circuit court judge by the 12th Circuit Judicial Nominating Committee. Mr. Shults has served on the faculty of the Kessler-Eidson Program for Trial Techniques at Emory University School of Law and on the faculty of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy Program for Practicing Lawyers at Nova Southeastern University School of Law. Mr. Shults grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida and is a graduate of St. Petersburg High School (1973), Florida State University (B.S. 1977) and Washburn University School of Law (J.D. cum laude 1982). He is veteran of the United States Army.
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2 Responses to Federal Court Rejects Florida’s New Early Voting Law – For Now

  1. Pingback: Florida Election Law Cases Remain Pending in Federal Courts | Florida Election Law Issues

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