Late last Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department ordered a halt to Florida’s effort to purge voter rolls of suspected noncitizens. It did so after a 91- year-old Florida man – a veteran of World War II, who earned a Bronze Star for his part in the Battle of the Bulge – was forced to show papers to prove to a Broward County worker he’s an American and entitled to his voter registration card.
Earlier that same day, a federal judge in Tallahassee blocked key parts of the state’s controversial 2011 election law, ruling its restrictions on third-party groups that register new voters were harsh and impractical.
Great news for Florida, in my opinion. For a year now, many of us have been fighting to fix this shameful law.
After Gov. Rick Scott signed it, I sought a Justice Department probe into whether the law makes it harder for young voters, seniors and minorities to vote. That review is ongoing. I also got a U.S. Senate panel to come to Tampa for an investigative hearing.
Now I’m asking a federal judge in our nation’s capital to let me join with a number of groups suing to strike other controversial provisions of the Florida law, such as its reduction in early voting days.
For my part, I don’t think we should be passing laws or conducting purges aimed at unduly limiting lawful citizens from exercising a fundamental right in our democracy – the right to vote.
Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL)