DECEMBER 19, 2007
Just six weeks before the state’s presidential primary, a federal judge has blocked enforcement of a two-year-old Florida law that requires voters’ names to match their driver’s license or Social Security card.
In blocking the law, designed to prevent election fraud, Judge Steve Mickle agreed with civil rights groups that claim the law discriminates against Hispanics and blacks because many Hispanics use two last names and many blacks favor nontraditional names or spellings.
Those factors put the two groups at greater risk of error when their names are matched against the federal database, according to the group that challenged the law, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Appointed to the federal bench by Bill Clinton, Judge Mickle agreed in his ruling that there is proof Florida’s law has resulted in actual harm to individuals. Criticizing the Republican-controlled state legislature that passed the voter ID measure, he wrote that the “disenfranchisement” caused damage to the election system that cannot be repaired after the election has passed.”
State officials will appeal the ruling, but a decision may not come in time for the upcoming presidential primary or even the presidential election on November 4.
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