Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Obama administration OKs most Fla. voting changes



Secretary of State Kurt Browning said Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Justice has approved most of the changes to Florida election laws. "Their decision confirms what we already know, that Florida's new election laws are fair and not discriminatory," Browning said in a news release. But the most controversial provisions of the new law were not included in the review and are before a federal court.

By law, the federal government must "pre-clear" or approve any changes to voting laws in five counties to ensure that they do not discriminate against racial or ethnic minorities. The counties are Hillsborough, Collier, Hardee, Hendry and Monroe. Approval came in a one-page letter to Browning from Chris Herren Jr., chief of the voting section in Justice's Civil Rights Division.

Separate from Tuesday's federal action, Browning has asked the U.S. District Court in Washington to approve the four most controversial provisions of the new law (HB 1355). They deal with third-party voter registration, petition signature verifications, out-of-county address changes by voters on Election Day and changes to the early voting schedule. Those four provisions were not part of the DOJ review.


[Last modified: Tuesday, August 9, 2011 1:18pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours