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Courts Reject GOP Voter Suppression Overreach In Four States

With Thursday’s ruling that a Texas voter identification law violates the Voting Rights Act, a pattern continues to emerge of Republican legislatures and governors attempting to enact illegal voter suppression legislation and courts striking them down. Among the recently rejected laws are strict voter identification laws, provisional voting restrictions, limits on voter registration drives, and reduced availability for early voting.

Here’s a partial roundup:

  • Florida: Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed a bill last year to impose harsh new restrictions on third-party voter registration groups, requiring them to turn in completed registration forms 48 hours — to the minute — after completion, or face fines. A federal judge blocked the law in late May and agreed to permanent kill its provisions this week. In a separate case, a judge rejected provisions earlier this month that would have reduced the number of days and hours available for earlier voting.
  • Ohio: A 2006 Ohio law, signed by then-Gov. Bob Taft (R), said that even in cases where poll-workers steer voters to the wrong polling place, provisional votes cast in the wrong precinct must be discarded. Monday, a federal judge granted an injunction to block this rule.
  • Texas: A U.S. District Court three-judge panel blocked a Texas voter ID law — signed by Gov. Rick Perry (R) last May, finding that it “imposes strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor” and that “a disproportionately high percentage of African Americans and Hispanics in Texas live in poverty.” Earlier this week, a different federal three-judge panel ruled the state’s gerrymandered redistricting law was also in violation of the Voting Rights Act.
  • Wisconsin: In July, a state circuit court judge blocked a voter ID law, signed by Gov. Scott Walker (R). In his ruling, he noted the law addressed a problem that was “very limited, if indeed it exists” and would create a “needless and significant impairment of the right to vote.”

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