Sen. Nelson Wants Investigation Into New Voting Laws

Friday, 04 Nov 2011 02:50 PM

By Andra Varin

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Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida has asked the Justice Department to investigate whether new voting laws in more than a dozen states, including his own, were passed as part of a concerted effort to discourage millions of people from voting in the 2012 presidential election.

The Democratic senator, who is himself up for re-election next year, wrote a letter asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to look into "whether new state voting laws resulted from collusion or an orchestrated effort to limit voter turnout," The Miami Herald reported Friday.

"The Department needs to determine whether or not there was broad-based motivation to suppress the vote — and, if so, whether any laws were violated," Nelson said.

Thirteen states last year approved changes to their election laws and another 24 states are considering measures that proponents say are needed to prevent voter fraud and keep illegal immigrants from voting.

Nelson said many of the new laws were pushed by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative advocacy group.

In Florida, the new rules reduce the number of early voting days and make it more difficult for third-party groups, such as the League of Women Voters, to register new voters by giving them a 48-hour deadline to turn in voting forms.

The new rules also prevent people from voting on the Sunday before elections, when many African-Americans go to the ballot box after church services.




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