Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning wrote in an editorial on Thursday that the Justice Department had determined “all 76 provisions” of Florida’s new elections law were not discriminatory, except for the four controversial parts of the law he didn’t want the department to review.
In fact, Browning retracted his submission of four controversial provisions of Florida’s new election law from the pre-clearance process at the Justice Department after the agency started asking questions.
Florida instead took the more expensive route of asking a federal court to decide whether additional provisions — including one that reduces the early voting period from 14 days to eight; another that requires voters who moved from another county to cast provisional ballots; one that requires third-party groups registering voters to turn in all forms within 48 hours — passed the smell test.
The Florida Independent reported on a July 22 letter the Florida State Department sent to DoJ which referenced “requested additional information from the Department of State regarding three specific sections of the act,” specifically, the provisions which affected early voting, address changes and third-party voter registration.
Yet in the editorial, Browning wrote that he has “no reason to believe that the court’s review will be more or less favorable than the DOJ, which has already approved 95 percent of the bill.”
“I personally made the decision to have the federal district court in Washington, D.C., conduct the review for these provisions when it became evident that a neutral panel of judges would be the best way to ensure the changes were judged on their merits, based solely on facts and applicable law,” Browning wrote in the editorial.
Five Florida counties are covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires changes to their voting process approved by the Justice Department. DOJ approved the non-controversial provisions of the law, as expected.