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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Fla Secy of State applauds Supreme Court voting ruling

25

June

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act cannot be enforced unless Congress comes up with a new way of determining which states and localities require federal monitoring of elections.

The justices said in 5-4 vote that the law Congress most recently renewed in 2006 relies on 40-year-old data that does not reflect racial progress and changes in U.S. society.

The court did not strike down the advance approval requirement of the law that has been used, mainly in the South, to open up polling places to minority voters in the nearly half century since it was first enacted in 1965.

But the justices did say lawmakers must update the formula for determining which parts of the country must seek Washington's approval, in advance, for election changes.

Florida has five counties on the preclearance list: Hillsborough, Monroe, Collier, Hardee and Hendry. The state in 2011 challenged the preclearance regulations, arguing the 40-year-old formula was "arbitrary and irrational."

"It will be better without the Department of Justice looking over our shoulder all the time," Florida's top elections official, Secretary of State Ken Detzner said Tuesday.

Detzner, who was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to oversee the state's election apparatus, said it made no sense for five Florida counties to be subjected to decades-old voting rights data.

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[Last modified: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 1:07pm]

    

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