Posted by on August 24, 2012 in Blog

Voter suppression has been the story of the 2012 elections, and Florida has been in the thick of it.

Last week, a federal court upheld the U.S. Department of Justice’s finding that Florida’s 2011 law narrowing early voting to 8 days would place an unfair burden on minority voters in 5 counties: Collier, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough, and Monroe.  To circumvent the court ruling, state election officials suggested that these counties offer 12 hours of voting during the 8 days. Four counties agreed. But Harry Sawyer said no.

“My opinion was that the old law worked fine” said Sawyer, the Monroe County Supervisor of Elections. Citing Monroe’s history of voter discrimination, Sawyer reiterated that the Department of Justice has to approve any changes to election law in his county, and said that —until Washington tells him otherwise— he’ll continue to provide 12 days of early voting.

This puts Sawyer head-to-head with Gov. Rick Scott, who has stated that he’ll “take all necessary and appropriate action” to enforce the 2011 law limiting early voting.

Florida has dominated national election news since 2000. More than a decade later, we’re still watching election “happenings” in the Sunshine State. Whether this particular debate will be resolved before November 6 remains to be seen.