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Florida Democrats Sue Over Burdensome Voting Lines

Common Dreams staff

(photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Florida Democratic Party filed a federal lawsuit on Saturday, the last scheduled day for early voting in the state, to extend early voting hours after some Florida voters spent up to seven hours waiting in line to vote which "unduly and unjustifiably burdened the right to vote."

Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith said in a statement:

Voting is a fundamental right, and we all have an interest in assuring that all Americans have effective opportunities to vote. Florida’s Republican state legislature has already reduced the number of days to early vote by six days. Because of Gov. Scott’s refusal to follow precedent and extend early voting hours in the face of unprecedented voter turnout in South Florida, we are requesting in federal court that more Floridians have a meaningful chance to early vote.

According to CNN,

The complaint said waits of up to seven hours in "many cases" were the "result of polling facilities that are inadequate" to meet the needs of early voting. In some cases, lines "deferred or prevented" ballots from being cast, the complaint said.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott had refused earlier requests to extend early voting.

The LA Times reports that Miami/Dade and Palm Beach counties on Sunday announced they would print out and accept absentee ballots for voters, essentially creating extended early voting, while a judge ordered an extension of early voting in Orange county after a suspicious package had closed a polling station.

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