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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida will challenge portion of Voting Rights Act



The state of Florida has decided to challenge the constitutionality of a federal law that requires any changes in election laws to receive federal approval to ensure that they don't discriminate against racial or ethnic minorities. Secretary of State Kurt Browning's office has confirmed the unexpected legal action, which was filed with U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

The legal maneuver by Gov. Rick Scott's administration is likely to set off a political furor in the nation's largest battleground state at a time when the nation's first African-American president is seeking re-election. The state earlier asked a three-judge panel to rule on whether the latest changes to Florida election laws comply with the federal requirement. 

The 1965 Voting Rights Act contains a provision requires "pre-clearance" of voting law changes, including many sweeping revisions made by the Legislature in the 2011 session. The five counties in Florida are Collier, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough and Monroe.

[Last modified: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 3:25pm]


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