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The unconstitutional burden of voter registration deadlines

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Floridians now have an extra week to register to vote. The State of Florida, according to a federal judge, has set up “unconstitutional” firm deadlines for voter registration, which must be remedied. The offending statute is 97.055 Florida Statutes that says voter registration “must be closed on the 29th day before each election and must remain closed until after that election.” (emphasis added) In this matter, the 29th day was Oct. 11. In a shrewd move, the Florida Democratic Party (FDP) sought…

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Federal judge orders Fla. voter registration extended to Oct. 18

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Calling the state’s Oct. 11 voter registration deadline “constitutionally untenable” in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, a federal judge ordered Florida’s registration books remain open till next Tuesday, Oct. 18. In a Wednesday hearing, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker of Tallahassee made clear he had no opinion on when the state closes registration, which is consistent with federal law. “The hurricane is the issue,” he said, adding that state law has a “gap” in not specifically allowing more time to register after…

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Federal judge says ‘no’ to student promotions case

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From The Associated Press, reprinted with permission: A federal judge has turned down a request from Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart and six school districts to take over a lawsuit that challenges the state law preventing some students from being promoted to the fourth grade. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker ruled Friday following an emergency hearing. His decision means that the dispute will head back to state court in Tallahassee. Department of Education and school district lawyers said the case belonged in…

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Court rejects Corrine Brown’s bid to throw out Florida congressional map

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A panel of federal judges Monday shot down U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown‘s challenge of Florida’s congressional redistricting. In a 26-page order, the three judges said Brown had “not proven (her) case and that defendants are entitled to judgment in their favor.” The defendants include the League of Women Voters of Florida, Common Cause and others who last year forced a redrawing of Florida’s congressional district map. Brown had asked the court to set aside her redrawn seat, the 5th Congressional District. The Jacksonville Democrat has said her new district violates…

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Corrine Brown’s lawyer makes historical argument to keep district lines

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A lawyer for U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown on Friday told a panel of federal judges that Florida’s new congressional map flies in the face of 100 years of history and would do violence to the voting rights of her black constituency. William Sheppard argued that the former District, which meanders from Jacksonville through Gainesville to Sanford, follows the course of the St. John’s River, where black residents settled and stayed after fleeing discrimination and racist attacks early last century. Brown’s former 5th Congressional…

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Federal judge rules against North Florida “prison gerrymandering”

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In a first-of-its kind decision, a federal judge in Tallahassee has ordered that local voting districts in nearby Jefferson County be redrawn, saying their boundaries are unconstitutional because of a system critics call “prison gerrymandering.” U.S. District Judge Mark Walker on Friday ruled against the county on a motion for summary judgment, effectively disposing of the case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and the Florida Justice Institute, a nonprofit law group specializing in prisoners’ rights cases. Walker’s 86-page opinion, announced Monday in…

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David Jolly reacts to conservative criticism of his record

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A close observation of Pinellas County Congressman David Jolly‘s record in the House indicates that despite the occasional pragmatic vote (he does represent a moderate district in Congress after all), nobody would accuse him of being a liberal. Well, almost no one. Today the Club for Growth, an economic conservative political group, came out with a statement blasting the newest entrant into the GOP Senate 2016 race, with their president, David McIntosh calling Jolly, “a big-spending liberal and former lobbyist who…

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